Her thread about women being “rude” to strange men quickly went viral
If you ever feel as a woman that no matter what you do you can’t win, you’re pretty much dead-on. If you’re nice to a man and he hurts you, well, why were you nice to him? Why didn’t you protect yourself? If you ignore a man who feels like a possible threat, you’ll be labeled a bitch, of course.
This viral Twitter thread and some of the replies perfectly nails that sad (and scary) reality.
Lily Evans took to Twitter recently to describe a scary encounter with a strange man while she was out walking her dog. Her first tweet reads, “Why some women are ‘rude’ or ‘cold’ or ‘standoffish’ to men in public: a thread.”
Why some women are "rude" or "cold" or "standoffish" to men in public: a thread
— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Evans was out one evening walking her dog and minding her own business when a man tried to make friends with her pet.
I was walking my dog today and stopped to take a photo of the sunset. A man on a bench behind me was having a snack and he offered Echo a cracker, which she gladly took, because she's a dog and always wants the people foods.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
It started innocently enough. He asked my dog's name, and then mine. I asked for his and we shook hands. I hate making small talk but, well, he had been very nice to offer my dog a treat, so I mentioned the nice weather. He asked if I lived in the area.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Now, as a woman, I don't like that question. First of all, I'm walking my dog, so it's already pretty clear that I probably live fairly close by. But I answered yes, made an excuse about Echo needing her medication, and dragged her away. All in all, not the worst interaction.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
She thought their exchange had ended relatively easily, but he wasn’t finished yet.
About 200 yards away, I paused to let Echo sniff some stuff and text a friend. "Hey, I thought you were going home?" Oh, boy. He'd followed me. I smiled and said I was just texting a friend back, but was on my way home, which was true-- but more explanation than I owed a stranger— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
He asked me where I lived. This made me uncomfortable, so I lied and said I live a neighborhood over. He said he'd seen me around often, which made me uncomfortable because I'd never seen him before but I guess he has been watching me.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
He asked if I have family around. I said no. And then he asked me if I live alone. So now a strange man, over 6 feet tall, probably in the 220-260 pound range, has been watching me, following me, has a rough idea of where I live...— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Nothing about this is OK. Not one bit of it.
and now he knows that I have no family in the area to check in on me. And now he wants to know if I live by myself. Alarm bells are ringing in my head and luckily this time I can tell the truth-- I do not live alone, I have a former military male room mate. But I'm still scared.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
I start tugging the leash to get across the street and he asks for a hug. Before I can say no he wraps his arms around me and squeezes me, tightly, and doesn't let go for a good 10-15 seconds. I was terrified he would squeeze tighter because I knew he could hurt me if he wanted.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Finally he let me go and I dashed across the street with my dog, even though the crosswalk timer was nearly up. All I wanted was to get home ASAP. But I couldn't even do that. What if he followed me again? What if he saw where I lived?— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Haven’t we all had this panic before? This terrible walk or drive home praying we aren’t being followed? It’s the worst.
I had to take an alternate route home, in the dark, constantly checking behind me to make sure I wasn't being followed, constantly making sure I was surrounded by plenty of people so I wouldn't be alone in the dark, constantly staying on the best lit streets.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
So now I need to plan a new dog walking route, and I have to be even more wary than usual after dark (which comes at like 4:45 now, thanks winter.) All because I decided to be nice to a strange man. I gave him an inch and he took a mile.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
I've experienced this over and over and OVER, and yet I STILL try to give people the benefit of the doubt because I don't want to get called a bitch. I don't owe anyone ANYTHING. Not a smile, not a hello, not a hug. And I'm going to remember that.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
This man didn't look scary, or creepy, or weird. Our interaction started perfectly pleasantly. So next time a woman on the street comes off as "rude", remember that we have NO IDEA which men are going to follow us home, or touch us without our consent, or worse.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
And the gross comments from strange men didn’t even stop there.
Oh, and on my way home, another man stopped me and told me I had better "watch my figure". I assume this is because HE wanted to watch my figure.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
So yeah. I'm at home shaking now, hoping that man didn't follow me home. Hoping he doesn't really see me around a lot, hoping he doesn't know where I really live. And hoping that I can make ONE person understand how dangerous "just being nice" to strangers can be.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Evans’ frustration is familiar to so many of us. We try to be nice, even though we might be afraid, and then we’re reminded why sometimes, it’s safer to just be a bitch.
And for thos eof you saying "wow he's creepy": you're correct! He IS creepy! And I had NO WAY OF KNOWING whether he would be creepy or harmless until it was too late!— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
And for those of you telling me to "stay safe" and protect myself: being "rude" IS a way of staying safe and protecting myself. When a woman you do not know brushes you off, won't say hello back or thank you for your compliment or whatever, THIS IS WHY. SHE IS PROTECTING HERSELF.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Her last reply absolutely nails it.
So next time you wanna get butthurt about it, try and consider WHY she might be acting that way. Consider that if she is nice to a man who later turns creepy people will tell her she should have been more careful.— Lily Evans (@LilyEvansMFC) January 5, 2018
Of course, mansplainers of the internet chimed in to say why Evans was “wrong,” to blame for the incident, or even to accuse her of lying about her story.
And the classic, “not all men” argument.
Luckily, this hero shut it all down to prove exactly why women have the right to be afraid of rejecting men.
Evans tells Scary Mommy that even though the post definitely received some backlash, it also got a lot of kind responses and people who understood. “I kind of expected more to be honest,” she says of the negative reactions. “I think the people who got upset by my story missed the point, which was that anyone can be creepy or scary to a stranger, even if one’s intentions are totally pure.”
Of her tweets going viral, Evans says that was never her intention. “I didn’t do this for attention, I just wanted to make men understand that when they perceive a woman as being ‘rude’ for ignoring them in public, it’s not personal– we are just trying to stay safe.”
Evans tells us that her tweets have prompted other women to share their “harrowing” tales with her about their own similar experiences. “While I absolutely HATE the circumstances, I’m really glad that my story made so many people feel brave enough to share, and that it made so many people realize that they aren’t alone in their experiences,” she says. “And I think a lot of men will consider their actions more carefully in the future, which is all I really wanted to begin with.”