Feminist rejection hotline created to ward off harassers

By Kayla Casavant | Staff Columnist

11/15/17

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an unsolicited advance? It is an uncomfortable situation to say the least. One company is tackling this conundrum straight on.

The Mary Sue is a website that has generated a rejection hotline. When somebody texts the number, they receive a text an hour later that reads:

“Oh hello there. If you’re getting this text you’ve made a woman feel unsafe/disrespected. Please learn to take no for an answer and respect a woman’s emotional and physical autonomy. K THANKS.”

According to a Bust.com article, the hotline was created by and for women. It isn’t the first hotline of it’s kind, but is the first to tell the receiver that their actions were inappropriate.

This is important. Often those who engage in this type of behavior are not one-time offenders. They systematically harass people at bars, restaurants, and on the street. It is not enough to poke fun at this behavior. It must be unequivocally made clear this kind of behavior is not okay.

While the concept is initially humorous, one must ask why such a hotline exists.

The hotline is for every woman cursed at in harsh undertones as she puts her head down and walks past a stranger in the streetlights.

The hotline is there to remind every aggressive man or woman at the bar they have no deed to another person’s time or attention.

The hotline is for every young person who’s afraid to look at their phone, fearing photographs not asked for and demanding or demeaning words.

Every person deserves to feel safe. So often people, particularly young people, are put in uncomfortable and unsafe situations by those trying to pursue them. It is bizarre for most rational people to imagine persistently asking somebody for something after being told no, likely repeatedly.

We have all seen it in bars or as the punchline on a television show. It is not funny. It is not cute. Harassment, if recent news has taught us anything, is very real.

Fear of harassment keeps so many from doing the things they love. How many women have spent the night in because they just don’t have the energy to put up with the guaranteed pushy pursuers?

How many girls have arrived at college, excited to attend their first “college party” and walked away shaken and afraid of a stranger who would not leave her alone?This hotline is an amazing thing. Often times the safest way out of a harassment situation is unfortunately to somewhat satisfy the harassers request. The hotline allows harassment victims to pacify an aggressor and safely get out of the situation all before the aggressor gets the message.

The hotline is great, but it shouldn’t exist. It shouldn’t have to exist, rather. As human beings, it is imperative for us to respect one another. Nothing is less respectful than ignoring what somebody is communicating to you. Whether it is through verbal cues or body language when somebody is told they are making another person uncomfortable they need to back off.

No means no. This message has been pushed extensively in recent days and for good reason. Somehow people still struggle to understand this. Until the aggressive few can understand this, we will have to look out for one another.

You can find the Mary Sue rejection number online at www.themarysue.com/mary-sue-rejection-hotline/

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