Women live in fear. Whether they're walking home from work in the dark or someone likes every single photo with their face on Instagram in 2 minutes, it usually isn't paralyzing but it's there. And men are the biggest contributors to it.
Many responded, sharing candid stories from their everyday lives.
The answers they have provided might also explain why women develop social anxiety disorder (SAD) nearly twice as often as men. Here are some of the most-upvoted ones.
When I say I don't like something — like something he said, or did, or joked about — and he says 'you secretly like it :).' That makes my skin crawl and alarm bells start going off. Don't tell women what they like.
Interestingly, this post was actually a preparation for a speech Honnung needed for school. "My friends and I have spoken about the subject many times and thought nothing of it," the Reddit user told Bored Panda. "When I later talked to my boyfriend, he admitted that he and his friends never really thought about it. I have personally been in many situations where men do things that freak me out and I wanted to see what experiences other women have; plus it would be good for men to hear the thoughts we don't really say out loud."
Since releasing the post, Honnung has realized that a lot of women have the same experiences and fears and that this is a really serious topic. They've also learned that many people, especially men, get offended by the fact that women are afraid of seemingly unimportant things. "There were a lot of fights in the comments between men trying to justify their actions and women holding them accountable. I thought it was just a matter of ignorance but I see now there are a lot of people who just straight up refuse to listen."
Blocking my path or physically holding me in place if they are not done talking to me. Basically, using their strength or size to restrict my motion in any way
According to Jodi Lane, a University of Florida sociology professor, such fears are especially common in women who are domestically abused—if they’re hurt by men they love, they're afraid strangers could hurt them, too. But there are other reasons why women live with more fear than men do.
First, women are scared any crime could lead to rape. "The fear of sexual assault is shadowing every other fear," Lane pointed out. Men are not nearly as likely to be raped as women.
Second, women are physically weaker than men. Women fear they can’t fight off an attacker, especially as they get older.
Third, women are socialized to be afraid. "All the things parents tell their children socialize them that they should be responsible for their own safety," Lane explained. "We socialize girls to be terrified. We socialize boys to be tough."
Honnung believes that the matter of being scared is a little complicated. "I am almost sure that the fear has grown since the Internet became a thing. Women share experiences; stories about men getting into their cars, onto balconies, videos of men just harassing women on the street. And for some, this might just be a quick video you see on Instagram but for many, this is a big warning for what's out there in the world," the Reddit user said. "'And even if this one man won't try to attack me in the street at night, the next one might. Or the next one.' You never know so you generalize and fear everyone."
However, the author of the post thinks that with every generation, the relation between men and women is improving. "We talk more openly and the correct use of the Internet (like with this post) can give women a chance to talk in a (mostly) safe space and a chance for men to listen. For the most part, [it looks like people are ceasing to brush it off] as just 'something that happens' which is a big step in the right direction."
At the end of their speech, Honnung said something Jodi Lane would have really liked: "We have to, instead of just teaching our daughters to be afraid of the world, teach our sons how they can make it safer."
Touching you in any way without permission, even if it seems harmless to you. Unfortunately that happens rather often in retail. Don't touch my shoulder when you talk to me. Don't stroke my hair. Don't caress my hand when you give me your money. Don't touch my ass or my boobs or anything at all! Please respect my personal space. It freaks me out when male strangers come near me and touch me in any way
Thinking 'no' isn't the final answer. Believing that with a little more convincing, I'll say yes. It makes me believe you don't respect me and worries me about how far you will go after I say no.
Any time someone tries really hard to convince me he's a 'nice guy.' Every guy I've met that desperately brings it up every chance he gets isn't usually very nice. It always makes me wonder, what are they trying to hide? Like why do I have to think you're nice? Prove it with your actions, don't tell me repeatedly
Parking right next to my car in a dark and/or empty parking lot. I've had this conversation with several girlfriends, but when I've mentioned it to men they had no idea about what goes through our mind when we see that
Breaking or hitting things out of anger
Standing too close. Even without covid, social distancing is a thing. Stay out of my personal space
Night out in the pub, there will always be one guy commenting that I haven't drunk much. 'Oh you're still on your first glass of wine. You drink slow. Why aren't you drinking' etc.
Why are you counting my drinks? Creepy as f***!
'Jokingly' using your strength to move me or keep me from moving. If I want to go home and you’re pulling me back, I am not actually going along with it. You are stronger than I am and I literally cannot leave
Following you to your car to get your number. Don't. Ever. Do. That.
I had a guy come into the store I worked at and leave within ten minutes. Not even 5 minutes after he left, he had searched me up on Instagram and messaged me, as well as all other social media. He didn’t have my last name and literally sat in the parking lot to search me up and message me. And then he came into the store a lot more to learn what shifts I worked and was ALWAYS THERE. That’s not endearing or cool, it’s creepy and makes me not want to go to work anymore
Hitting on you in locations where you cannot escape (enclosed places like elevators, or workplaces)
Approaching me when I obviously don't want to be approached ie. I have headphones on, I'm on my phone, I'm reading or pretty much any other universal signal of 'I don't want to be disturbed'
While talking online when I say, 'I don't know about meeting up,' and their response is, 'You are more likely to be [sexually harassed] by someone you actually know in person.' Yup...Not meeting up now
Standing in doorways or blocking exits
Flirting is fun so long as you don't 'flirt' by asking me where I live, and if I live alone, and if I know people in the area. If you want to chat, flirt, get to know me? Don't start with the questions that set off alarm bells in my head
Putting your arm on top of my shoulder and around close to my throat. It scares the heck out of me and every other lady I have talked to.
Messaging you on a dating app, commenting that they found your profile and that they are in the same location as you — they can see you, but you can't see them. I had a guy do this on a fully packed train I was on to go to work. I'm not an anxious person, but it felt really uncomfortable
Trying to sleep with me when I am very obviously not interested. When I confront them, they just say, "Can't blame a guy for trying." WTF.
Driving really aggressively and having road rage. When I was younger and dating, I had so many experiences as a passenger with young guys who were otherwise normal but really intense and scary when they got behind the wheel. It always seemed like a red flag
I've been approached several times in public by random men who say they want to be friends with me. One leaned in really close to have a conversation and asked me where I was from and where I live. Another grabbed my hands and remarked on how soft my skin is. Another one literally locked arms with me and dragged me to a coffee shop to 'get to know me' and then later told me to come with him to a more private place for a view of the city
Slow down their car when I’m walking. Dude, check your phone down the street. Not pulled up next to a woman walking alone. Infuriates me how few men even think of how that looks
Common female discussion - Unsolicited nudie pics. Equivalent to those creeps who hide behind the bushes trying to flash you. People need to realize 1 in 4 women have had some kind of [sexuall harassment]. Save it for your partner. Or risk getting blasted or viewed as a weirdo perv.
When a guy won't give up. He doesn't even have to be physically present. Being an adamant d**k over text is enough to terrorize you sometimes
Wanting to go to a secluded location if I don't know you well. Men on Tinder suggest going on hikes or taking a walk after dinner on first dates. Doesn't even cross their minds that I would not want to be alone with them on a date
Raising their voice in anger. Even if it isn't directed at me. Triggers a flight response. An obvious one I know but I think some men have no idea how scary that is. Also grabbing or hugging me from behind as a surprise. Solid way to trigger a panic attack
The complete inability to see an idea or situation from a woman's perspective. Instantly getting defensive when you mention something men do makes you uncomfortable. "But, but I don't do that!!!" Ok cool, but can you see his this might make someone half your size feel??
Whenever a guy does this I realize they have a serious empathy problem and makes me not want to be around them. What happens if they lose their temper, are intoxicated, etc so their inhibitions are even lower?
No thanks, not worth the risk. Also, I try not to spend time with closed-minded people so that automatically rules them out of my friend group
Once a guy made new social media accounts to search me up after I blocked him, THREE TIMES
I don’t know what he thought would happen by just keep trying. Like I would just go “I love how you stalk me and keep shooting your shot after I’ve blocked you several times! Marry me”??
Uber or lyft drivers who ask me if they're driving me home. You don't need to know that!
Strangers complimenting me on my body really freaks me out. I also don't like people commenting on my hair, but that's because I'm ginger and I get a lot of sexualized comments
Getting really intense about our relationship/ friendship really early on. A lot of guys turn women into this kind of fantasy thing that’s supposed to make them whole/ help them change or whatever. Sir I am the main character in my own life, not just a supporting one in yours. When you put that pressure on me right away abs without reciprocation, I know that I don’t actually matter, you’ve been taught that women serve you
Meeting me at my job and asking for my work schedule so they can 'see me more often'
Staring. OHMYGOD THE STARING. It’s not cute, it’s not attractive, I don’t know you like that
Calling women beautiful as much as possible. Once or twice is nice, if you know them, but if you don't know the guy and he says it too much, it freaks me out
Feel up on you and go "I'm kiddiiiiiiiingg" and do it again
Asking for way too much information. Where I live, who I live with, where I work, what hours I work, Nearly wanting a schedule of my life in order to schedule a date.
Matching my speed while driving to look in and stare at me
Calling me "sweet" pet-names like "honey" and "sweetheart" in a normal conversation (like at the shopping counter or anywhere else I ask a question or mention something). Most of the time they don't even realize that they start with that and I'm annoyed at it but for some reason it freaks me out when they call me that and I don't know them. IDK why
Liking every single picture with my face on Instagram in a period of two minutes