No, means no. 

But for some reason when it comes to several Indian men, ‘no’ seems to mean, try harder. It even goes a step further to mean become a creepy stalker, text from different numbers, message on all available social media platforms until blocked. Then land up at my house, my college, my local gym with the staunch belief that “ladki ki na mein haan hai”. And if I keep saying no, then I’m a snob, who thinks she’s too good for the world and should be taught a lesson for offending his masculinity. You get the point. 

The way we interact with the opposite gender from an early age is a huge factor here, because, well, we don’t do it at all. Usually, genders are kept apart with separate benches, separate sides of the classroom and separate friend circles. There exists a strong social taboo that ensures kids of the opposite gender don’t get “too friendly”. 

This vacuum of interaction is then filled by the pop culture which has readily embraced the “stalk her till you get her” approach. Whether it was Dharmendra, standing on the tanki and pressurizing Basanti to say a yes or Dhanush following Sonam Kapoor from her school to the market to her house, men believe that to win a woman’s heart, you must pursue her till she has no choice but to say yes.  

Here are just a few stories from a handful of women at ScoopWhoop. This is just a drop in the ocean of toxic masculinity and men being unable to accept ‘no’ for an answer.

Even after breaking up, my ex didn’t stop obsessing over me. Unable to handle rejection, he came with a group of friends one day and started throwing eggs at my house. My family and I were so humiliated in front of our neighbours that it made it difficult for me to step out of my house for days after that.    

Once, I went on a school trip where one of my batchmates asked me out. When I told him that I was dating someone else, he decided to ruin my love life by telling my boyfriend that I had kissed him. After that, not only did my boyfriend break up with me but all my schoolmates knew me as “the girl who cheated”. 

One of my college seniors asked me out during my fresher’s party but couldn’t take ‘no for an answer’. To coerce me to date him, one day he got a blade to college and slit his wrist, after which the student council had to rush him to the hospital. I had to change my college in the middle of the year because of this horrific experience.  

Last year, travelling in the metro, I noticed a guy staring at me. As I deboarded, he kept following and he came up to me and asked me to marry him! I got pretty scared, panicked, told him to fuck off and literally ran away. For the next two months, he boarded the same metro as me every day and kept staring at me from the general compartment. Even now, when I travel by metro, I feel he is still out there staring at me.