Women walk a tricky tightrope every day. They’re expected to be “nice” and “polite” and to defend themselves from creepy weirdos who want to take advantage of them. To prove that it’s perfectly OK to abandon the former if you have to achieve the latter, cam girl Lily Evans shared a chilling personal experience. It’s about a man she encountered while walking her dog and the things it led to because she didn’t tell him to fu*k off. Eventually, her rant went viral and even started an interesting discussion about unwanted attention.

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Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

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Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

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Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Image credits: LilyEvansMFC

Whether unwanted attention is coming from a friend or a complete stranger, rejecting them is rarely easy. Recent research from Cornell University has some answers to why it sometimes feels impossible to get rid of persistent come-ons. To examine the experience of rejecting someone’s advances, Bohns and DeVincent focused on 942 participants in STEM; the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. There, sexual harassment is a documented problem. The study was designed in a way that allowed it to gather data about both being the target of an unwanted pursuit and being the pursuer.

The data they gathered point to five main reasons why it can be so challenging to reject undesired romantic advances.

1. Suitors are oblivious to the discomfort they’re creating. They often thought that their targets had more freedom to say no and were more comfortable than the targets reported. Targets “found it difficult,” “felt guilty,” “felt bad,” and “felt uncomfortable” saying no to a significantly greater extent than imagined by the suitors.

2. Suitors don’t think targets are as worried as they are. The professional consequences of rebuffing a colleague are often on the minds of targets who are trying to say no to unwanted romantic pursuits.

3. Suitors don’t realize targets are rearranging their daily lives to avoid them. The research suggests that targets are changing their behavior much more than suitors imagine. Targets are wasting energy avoiding not only the suitors but their friends as well. In some cases, it gets so uncomfortable that targets are even considering other places to work, just so they wouldn’t have to deal with these unwanted advances.

4. Suitors do not see their attention as distracting. When targets are trying to say no without causing a stir, their work productivity drops. In other words, the harmless flirtation that a suitor thinks they are engaging in is actually negatively impacting the target’s everyday life far more than they could imagine.

5. Suitors aren’t aware of their target’s reputation concerns. Targets of unwanted advances in professional settings worry about what an unwanted suitor might say about them after a rejection way more than the suitors typically imagine.

Lily’s story started an interesting discussion

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