Everybody is responsible when it comes to deconstructing rape culture.

Another day, another Twitter post illustrating how we don’t teach boys how to take no for an answer. Another day, another example of how we reinforce toxic masculinity and rape culture by telling young girls to be “nice” when turning down a date.

A post on Twitter from user @Jarelyxx gained some traction after she posted screenshots from a text exchange between her 13-year-old brother and a girl he goes to school with.

The user wrote, “my 13 year old brother has liked the same girl since pre-k and he gets rejected year after year. jazmin is a lil dumb and sleeps on him smh.”

Let’s get one thing clear: when a person says no to you the first time, accept this response and their autonomy and move on. Why aren’t we teaching young boys to handle rejection? Why do we continue to teach them that persistence is attractive when it is, in fact, abusive and creepy?

Related: Why I’m Done Trying To Get You To Help Me Fight Rape Culture

One user went so far as to tweet, “@jarelyxx where this bitch live? I really gotta have a “talk” with her…”

People like this are why women and girls are scared of rejecting men, because our decisions are met with violent threats from people like the person above, practically outing themselves as rapists and murderers.

Women and femmes don’t owe you a “yes” simply because you asked – in fact, we don’t even owe you a response at all. Yet it is expected of us to be flattered, happy and willing to go out with any cishet man who wants to date us because our value is judged by whether cishet men consider us to be of value to them. We are not granted autonomy, we are not allowed to be ourselves for ourselves.

 

Everybody is responsible when it comes to deconstructing rape culture. We grow up watching films and shows and reading books with storylines where a man keeps pursuing a woman even after she said no. We are taught that persistence and ignoring the word “no” is romantic – not abusive.

We have to teach children to respect each other’s autonomy and that means explaining to them that even if they have a crush on someone, that person doesn’t have to feel the same way about them and that they should not try to change their mind by chasing them, stalking them and harassing them for years on end.

No means no and we need to teach our children to understand that because by the time they’re in college, it’s almost too late.

Featured Image: @jarlyxx, Twitter

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