“Men have to acknowledge our autonomy to say no”

I was recently in a club with a couple of friends without my partner. A guy made a number of attempts to dance with me (perhaps I should say into me?) from which I politely declined, by moving away. Though the music was too loud for words, presumably he understood this to mean ‘try harder’, and not ‘no’, because he got a hold of my hips and pulled himself into me.

It took quite a bit of force for me to to pry myself out this time. I gestured with my hands and shook head to convey that I was definitely NOT interested and moved towards my friend. He then went to speak to that friend, who shared with him that I’m married and he was wasting his time. I’m not sure if ‘to his credit’ is really appropriate, but he did come back and apologise for misreading the situation. In some ways, I was quite pleased that he did not apologise to my friend in lieu of me, or not at all, but nonetheless it took another man to say no for that no to land.

I have never used being in a relationship to decline a date or display of interest, precisely because it is not enough for a man to stop harassing you because he considers you to be taken by another man. Men have to acknowledge our autonomy to say no.