Survival Signals

suspicious-womanEver wondered how manipulative personalities manage to gain control of their victims? Do you think you’d be able to recognize the signs of a potential rapist, con artist, or other attacker?

Gavin de Becker, author and expert on the prediction and management of violence, offers what he’s termed survivals signals in his number one bestselling book The Gift of Fear. These techniques are what many face-to-face criminals use to keep their victims from recognizing that they are in trouble. Understanding these methods can help you to recognize if you’re ever in a potentially dangerous situation.

1. Forced Teaming

Forced teaming occurs when someone pretends to be in a similar situation or have something in common with another. It often involves the use of the word “we” or “us” as in “What are we going to do about this?” or “We both know…” Forced teaming is used to create unearned trust — people are more likely to open up to someone they think is like them, or is in the same situation they are.

2. Charm/Niceness

Charm is consciously used by potential attackers to control by alluring. People respond more positively to those that captivate them. Rather than think that a person is charming, think that they are trying to charm you. This will keep you from being swayed.

Niceness is not goodness. If a person wishes to control, presenting the image of a nice person is an effective way to make the other person more comfortable with them.

3. Too Many Details

When a person is being truthful and straightforward, they don’t feel the need to add details (i.e. support) to what they are talking about. But if a person is lying, even if you believe what they are saying, they might not. What they say might not sound believable to them so they keep talking, adding more and more details.

These details, like other techniques, are used to keep the other person distracted and oblivious to the context of the situation.

4. Typecasting

Typecasting is when a person labels another in a way that the other feels compelled to disprove the labeling, and in a way that makes the other person feel insecure. It is always a slight insult, and usually one that the other person can easily disprove.

The typecaster wants the other person to prove him wrong — once they do so, control is handed over and the person is made more responsive to their advances. The best defense is to act as if you didn’t even hear what they said.

walking-at-night5. Loan Sharking

Loan sharking occurs when a person gives help that wasn’t asked for, expecting a favor in return. They know that people will feel indebted to them for helping out, and they exploit this sense of obligation and fairness. Offering to carry a woman’s groceries, for example, may allow a man to encourage a woman to talk to him who otherwise wouldn’t.

To avoid loan sharking, decline their help, politely (or impolitely, if necessary).

6. The Unsolicited Promise

Promises that come for no reason are used to convince others that a person will or will not take a certain action. Why? Because the promiser can tell that the other person is not convinced.

If you are unconvinced of the sincerity of someone, that is a sign that something might be wrong. Pay attention to this doubt.

6. Discounting the Word “No”

Refusing to acknowledge the word “no” is a signal that someone is seeking to control or doesn’t want to let go of control.With a stranger or someone you know only casually, refusing to accept no can be dangerous.

Don’t give in or negotiate if someone continues what they are doing after you tell them “no”. It is best to get away completely, but if you can’t, simply repeat firmly, “No”.

Note: Many of these techniques are used by people who don’t have sinister intentions — a person can be charming or nice and not mean you any harm. But they are used consciously by people who have less than positive aims and if several of the signs are present, you should be aware.

In addition, these techniques are used by people wishing to manipulate, but not cause physical harm. For example, typecasting is used by PUAs and is also known as “negging”.

Do you recognize any of these methods? Have you ever had them used on you?

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51 thoughts on “Survival Signals

  1. Hey Miss Alee,

    This is a very interesting topic. I read this book, and much of it resonated with me. But I thought his theories (and this book) were controversial. What is your sense of it?

  2. Hi Sherry,

    Did you read the book? Awesome.

    Some of what he writes is controversial. Like when he writes that it might be politically incorrect to say but men are more likely to be attackers than women so he’s going to write from that vantage point rather than pretending they are equal. And some of his thoughts on gun control people thought were extreme. But, honestly, I thought it was an excellent book and right on for the most part. You can’t write great non-fiction without stirring up a bit of opposition.

    What did you think of the survival signals? I thought he hit the nail on the head, so I decided to share (and elaborate).

  3. He hit the nail on the head when he talked about not ignoring your intuition. I also thought that the forced teaming was on point too. Remember when he said that if you come up and ask respectfully “Can I talk to you” that women were put off, but if you just talked to them like a friend they were not? I thought about that for a long time and I’m still not quite settled on it. What do you think?

    I bought the book at a co-worker’s suggestion. I might have to dust it off and read it again.

  4. The book’s in my collection too and it’s a great read. We women are told by society that we must be “nice,” be “accomodating,” and put our personal issues and beliefs aside for the sake of others. This book goes against the grain by saying the opposite, to trust your instinct and put yourself first.

  5. Sherry,

    “Remember when he said that if you come up and ask respectfully “Can I talk to you” that women were put off, but if you just talked to them like a friend they were not?”

    I remember that, I think he was only talking about the situation on the plane where this teen girl got uncomfortable when he asked to talk to her, but didn’t with this guy who just put out his hand and said his name.

    And the guy used all of the warning signals: forced teaming, charm, typecasting, discounting the word no. It was ridiculous. But I’ve seen situations like that too.

  6. changingmoods,

    “The book’s in my collection too and it’s a great read.”

    Wow. So many people have the book; I was reading on another blog where a woman was also recommending it. No wonder it spent so much time as a number one bestseller.

    ‘We women are told by society that we must be “nice,” be “accomodating,” and put our personal issues and beliefs aside for the sake of others. This book goes against the grain by saying the opposite, to trust your instinct and put yourself first.’

    You can be “nice”, but there is a difference between being nice and being insensible. Sometimes people ignore warning signs in their attempts to be a nice person.

  7. Some of what he writes is controversial. Like when he writes that it might be politically incorrect to say but men are more likely to be attackers than women so he’s going to write from that vantage point rather than pretending they are equal.

    I get the political correctness thing, but I don’t think that men and women attack in the same way anyway, so it’s impossible to write from the both angles at the same time. Plus, saying that most of the attackers are men doesn’t mean that most men are attackers. (A point that some people don’t get).

    I think the politeness thing (and the danger of it) is very important to remember. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me, but I never considered nice people to be automatically good people. In fact, being too nice is a red flag to me. Maybe it’s because it often seems fake. Plus, I know so many impolite, grumpy people who are great, kind people… Being nice is always pretending to an extent. But of course it doesn’t mean that all nice people are actually evil or something.

  8. Mira,

    “I get the political correctness thing, but I don’t think that men and women attack in the same way”

    What do you mean by that? Physically? Or otherwise? The book was about physical violence, mainly.

    “saying that most of the attackers are men doesn’t mean that most men are attackers.”

    Right. So I didn’t think much about the statement, although I knew some people would be offended.

    “In fact, being too nice is a red flag to me.”

    The thing about really nice people is that they have a motive for their niceness, whether they are aware of it or not. Sometimes it’s just to be considered “nice” or avoid conflict, but that’s still a motive. I’d much rather people just say what they mean and be themselves (but not rude and tactless — that’s even more undesirable).

    “Being nice is always pretending to an extent.”

    He said something similar to this, and I agree.

  9. What do you mean by that? Physically? Or otherwise? The book was about physical violence, mainly.

    In any way possible. You know I’m not one of the people who believe men and women are THAT different, but when it comes to violence, particularly physical one, I do think they’re different. Women are capable of being very violent, but I think what they do is often different to stuff men do.

    I wasn’t offended by that comment (if it’s true most attackers are men, it’s logical to write about it, right?) But then I remembered how many people don’t understand that it doesn’t mean most men are violent. Like those people who’d read 99%* rapists are men, so they believe most men are rapists.

    * I don’t actually know the percentage. It might be 90% or 95%, but it’s irrelevant for the point I’m making here.

    The thing about really nice people is that they have a motive for their niceness, whether they are aware of it or not. Sometimes it’s just to be considered “nice” or avoid conflict, but that’s still a motive. I’d much rather people just say what they mean and be themselves (but not rude and tactless — that’s even more undesirable).

    Well, I might be biased here, because I’ve been hurt by nice and polite people a lot. But the truth is that I don’t care whether person is nice, and I sure don’t care if the person is polite. It doesn’t mean much to me in determining whether I like them or consider them a good person.

    I think I am strangely immune to politeness, but I am not immune to charm.

  10. Mira,

    “Women are capable of being very violent, but I think what they do is often different to stuff men do.”

    How? I really want to know. 🙂
    I think I agree, but I can’t be sure unless you elaborate.

    “I wasn’t offended by that comment (if it’s true most attackers are men, it’s logical to write about it, right?)”

    Yes, but using that logic things can easily become stereotyping and prejudice. Like how some racists use the logic most crimes are commited by black men thus most black men are criminals. If he had written his book from the vantage point of attacker = black male, the book would have been more controversial. Much more.

    “I think I am strangely immune to politeness, but I am not immune to charm.”

    There’s only one thing I’m not immune to and we all know what that is. 😉

  11. How? I really want to know. 🙂
    I think I agree, but I can’t be sure unless you elaborate.

    Well, first of all, most women are physically weaker than men (though it’s debatable). That, and the fact female socialization is different than male, make women use violence differently. Women don’t physically fight with other women the same way men fight each other, let alone when they fight men (part of it is anatomical, though very little people know is that being kicked between the legs hurt girls, too. Also, women tend to grab hair or use fingernails. Men don’t use these techniques as much, I think).

    Also, the fact many women are taught physical violence is stupid and something boys do, they opt for different kind of aggressive behavior than men do. For example, an abusive father might beat up his kid, while an abusive mother would drop the baby on the floor or “punish” her with a hot object.

    And that’s just for the physical aspect.

    Yes, but using that logic things can easily become stereotyping and prejudice. Like how some racists use the logic most crimes are commited by black men thus most black men are criminals.

    Yes, I did think of race, that’s what got me thinking in the first place. Well, whoever think that “most crimes are made by X” means “most X are criminals” is a fool, plain and simple.

    If he had written his book from the vantage point of attacker = black male, the book would have been more controversial. Much more.

    Well, obviously. The more you specify the type of an attacker the less generalized your book becomes. But if there are some race specific attacker techniques, I’d sure like to know about them. But then again, I’d love to know about gender specific attacker techniques, too.

  12. Ah you Americans makes stuff so much complicated. Over in SA if men wants to rape a girl they just go into her house and do it and most likely they get away with it (Unless it’s one of those cases were the community hits back). But these I guess are useful if your in a club environment or something similar.

    I have to say I’m pretty good at noticing when situation turns ugly. It’s something you learn.

    “Women are capable of being very violent, but I think what they do is often different to stuff men do.”

    How? I really want to know. 🙂
    I think I agree, but I can’t be sure unless you elaborate.

    Well, I don’t think they straight up go up to a man and beat him up. More sneaky, like that prostitute that used to stab and rob customers when she gave them a blow job, back in SA..

    Or we got those women who beats up their husbands. That feels a bit weird to me TBH. But I’ve seen it on tv so I guess it happens. Great plot for the new Tyler Perry movie “Sassy black woman dominates and beats up her poor husband”.

  13. Mira,

    I agree with you on the different ways men and women fight. I’m not really sure how I fight, but it’s probably more like a guy because I grew up (play-)fighting with my older brother.

    “an abusive father might beat up his kid, while an abusive mother would drop the baby on the floor or “punish” her with a hot object.”

    The latter seems oddly more abusive. Dropping a baby on purpose? That’s just cruel.

    “But if there are some race specific attacker techniques, I’d sure like to know about them.”

    Really? 🙂
    I’ve covered some of the (non-violent) ones here, and there’s yet more to come. But it’s controversial, indeed.

  14. Nkosazana,

    You always make South Africa seem like a nightmare. I’m sure they all think you’re very unpatriotic. 🙂

    “Or we got those women who beats up their husbands. That feels a bit weird to me TBH. But I’ve seen it on tv so I guess it happens.”

    It does happen, and I always feel sorry for the guy. Physical pain + the embarrassment of being beat up by the opposite sex who is supposed to be weaker than yours.

    What? TP hasn’t done that movie yet? It’s probably been done under various other titles.

  15. I agree with you on the different ways men and women fight. I’m not really sure how I fight, but it’s probably more like a guy because I grew up (play-)fighting with my older brother.

    I don’t know how to fight. I think my first instinct is to bite. But I am quite clumsy and weak- a child could beat me up, I think. This is not a good thing. My father once tried to tech me how to fight back if another kid attacks me, but I was never brave enough to do it.

    The only exception are bus molesters I talked about at Jasmin’s blog. The one who like to touch girls in a crowded bus. I’ve learned how to deal with them, because you don’t really need physical strength- all you need is to show them you will fight back.

    The latter seems oddly more abusive. Dropping a baby on purpose? That’s just cruel.

    Indeed. The worst thing is the fact those are real life examples.

    Really? 🙂
    I’ve covered some of the (non-violent) ones here, and there’s yet more to come. But it’s controversial, indeed.

    Well, that was more of a rhetorical question (if it was a question) than a statement. But if it’s reported that, say, blacks almost exclusively use Forced Teaming and whites go for Loan Sharking (or whatever), I don’t think mentioning this fact is bad.

    The main problem here is not dividing attackers by race (or gender), but the generalization that might lead people to believe that ALL male (white, female, black) attackers attack in the X way. So even if you’re sane enough to understand it doesn’t mean all males (whites, etc.) are violent, it is a bad generalization because this particular attacker might not use the style attributed to his (or her) gender or race.

    Also, did the author explore only men on women violence, or men on men one? Because some of these techniques seem like something men wouldn’t try on other men, while some of them seem like something women would do. Strange (but maybe it’s just me).

  16. Mira,

    “I don’t know how to fight. I think my first instinct is to bite.”

    Lol. That was just funny.

    “The main problem here is not dividing attackers by race (or gender), but the generalization that might lead people to believe that ALL male (white, female, black) attackers attack in the X way.”

    Or even that if you’re of a certain group you’re more likely to be that way. It’s a slippery slope, so I can understand the concern.

    “did the author explore only men on women violence, or men on men one?”

    He did both men-women, and men-men, and didn’t divide it by the victim’s gender. Like in the Loan Sharking example he used a (really good, IMO) male-male example from a movie.

    Some of the techniques are more likely to be used by men on women, like typecasting/negging. In those instances it was clear that is more applicable to women. AFAIK, none of the techniques are more likely to be used by women, at least he didn’t mention that.

  17. Bah, these tactics are used everyday by people at my job. Business people are so shady. Not sure if its in the book but also beware of the “common enemy” tactic. Similar to forced teaming, and I think the name of it is pretty self explanatory. A good example would be a married man telling a married women “don’t you hate it in your relationship when your man does this this and this because I can’t stand it when my woman does” etc etc, cue in bitch session complaining about their spouses, him telling her “we deserve better”, and before you know it he has her in bed. One guy I know even after he became divorced still wore his ring and pretended he was married for the sole purpose of running this game, and women gobbled it up every time, always convinced he was going to leave his “wife” for them any day.

    I think charm/niceness is the one most often used by women against men. For obvious reasons, because us men are suckers for compliments.

  18. Now I don’t think being nice is always pretending. Being an asshole really takes a lot of work! Much more than being nice does.

  19. Co-sign Sherry,

    People say that I’m too nice, but in reality I’m just being me. (Which maybe is too nice.) If they caught me at a bad time, they’d see I can get mean just like anyone else. Except I don’t, because being a d-bag is too hard and goes against my nature! I’d rather just walk away and call it a day.

  20. that guy,

    “Bah, these tactics are used everyday by people at my job. Business people are so shady.”

    Yup, they are commonly used by manipulative people, whether they be violent or non-violent.

    ‘Not sure if its in the book but also beware of the “common enemy” tactic.’

    I guess that’s basically forced teaming. Forced teaming is just pretending to have something in common or in the same situation as another person.

    “I think charm/niceness is the one most often used by women against men. For obvious reasons, because us men are suckers for compliments.”

    Oh really? Lol.

    I’ve met many charming men. I thought the basic technique of many men to get women interested in them is to be charming. Niceness, yes, that’s something women use.

  21. Sherry,

    “Now I don’t think being nice is always pretending.”

    Eh, it’s not pretending in that the person is being insincere. But it’s pretending in the sense that the person has a motive for their niceness, whether they are conscious of it or not. I guess you can say personality itself is a means to an end.

    “Being an asshole really takes a lot of work!”

    Lol, no it doesn’t! 🙂

    I mean, it really depends on the person. Lots of people are a**holes on autopilot. Having to think of others’ feelings, think about their words and actions beforehand, be considerate: that takes work for them. For others, it’s the opposite.

    zek,

    “People say that I’m too nice, but in reality I’m just being me. (Which maybe is too nice.)

    Yup. 🙂

    “If they caught me at a bad time, they’d see I can get mean just like anyone else.”

    I’ve seen you get (slightly) mean. Your meanness is some people’s niceness! So it definitely depends on the person.

  22. Eloquence,

    “1-3 are exactly my exhusband. lols.”

    *lifts eyebrow*

    You sure know how to pick them. 😉

    “I think I might sometimes Loan Shark…”

    I’m not surprised. It seems like a pretty common thing, but it can become more sinister if you’re hoping for a favor that isn’t equivalent to the one you gave.

  23. A lot of American men do Typecasting.

    A lot of Jamaican men discount the word no. lols.

    Manipulation of situations is necessary in one way or another throughout life. It’s just the degree of it that matters. If people NEVER did any of these things they wouldn’t get promotions or progress in life, not at the points it depends on other people and their egoes and childhood issues they try to resolve in their adult lives.

  24. That guy…you haven’t met Jamaican men have you? And Arab men. CHARMERRRRRS. Sweet charmers!

    lols at the “married” man…that goes to the evil nature of women who love the hype of feeling like they “took” another woman’s man. It’s the supreme ego stroke for them.

  25. I think I might be guilty of Typecasting (well, sometimes). I don’t use that to manipulate in the strict sense of the word… It’s more of general prejudice.

  26. Eloquence,

    “A lot of American men do Typecasting.

    A lot of Jamaican men discount the word no. lols.”

    Lol.

    Well, Mira there are a couple of race/ethnicity-specific techniques for you.

    Typecasting, yes, is also known as “negging”. And it is fairly common around these parts. Beware.

    As for discounting the word no… I don’t think I want anymore details on what you mean by that. 😉

    “Manipulation of situations is necessary in one way or another throughout life…If people NEVER did any of these things they wouldn’t get promotions or progress in life”

    Oh, I wouldn’t say that. It’s possible to get ahead without using these techniques. You can be noteworthy and likeable without being manipulative.

    ‘lols at the “married” man…that goes to the evil nature of women who love the hype of feeling like they “took” another woman’s man. It’s the supreme ego stroke for them.’

    You’re so right on that one. But it’s still sad how they got manipulated.

  27. Mira,

    ‘I think I might be guilty of Typecasting (well, sometimes). I don’t use that to manipulate in the strict sense of the word… It’s more of general prejudice.’

    Well, unless you’re doing in order to get a response out of the other person, I don’t think it can be considered typecasting. General prejudice, yes.

  28. Everyone does these things, whether they realize it or not. You use charm/niceness technique in all your responses on your blog. You probly don’t realize it.

    Discounting no simply means not taking no for the final answer. Relationships are all about negotiation, whether business or personal. Anyone who says they’ve never done this is lying. Just some folks, like Jamaican men, have an overall tendency to take it to a whole nother level.

  29. Well, Mira there are a couple of race/ethnicity-specific techniques for you.

    Oh yes, it’s interesting indeed!

    Let me see…

    Serbian women: Forced teaming, Charm, Loan Sharking
    Serbian men: Charm, Too many details, Discounting the Word “No”

  30. Eloquence,

    “You use charm/niceness technique in all your responses on your blog. You probly don’t realize it.”

    LOL, really? I’ve actually been told I’m somewhat mean and very critical, so that’s a little different. 😉

    In any case, I’m not trying to be manipulative by being nice — my intention is not to get people to think or do something they otherwise wouldn’t. Niceness isn’t always about manipulation, though it is used by manipulators. So that goes back to what I was saying above and in the note of the post.

    But I guess you can say, like I said above, personality itself is a technique. I certainly think everyone has a goal they’re aiming for with the way they project themselves, however mundane their goal may be.

    “Discounting no simply means not taking no for the final answer.”

    Oh, I know. That was in regards to what the person might be saying “no” to…

  31. Mira,

    Serbian women: Forced teaming, Charm, Loan Sharking
    Serbian men: Charm, Too many details, Discounting the Word “No”

    Lol at the last part being bolded. Seems like it’s pretty common all over the world.

  32. Well, that is very annoying, and very typical of Serbian men. Seriously. Something weird happens when they hear “no”. Like it gives them super strength or something and they just understand it as an open invitation.

  33. I have to agree with Eloquence on Jamaican men discounting the word “no.” Unfortunately, there is a strong vein of misogyny present there, and many of the guys are hyper-“masculine” and aggressive in their come-on’s – a huge turnoff for me. Don’t get me started on the lame “lyrics” (cheesy, lame come-on lines) that they like to use. Even when you try to be polite in brushing them off, they still deliberately ignore the hint. *Rolls eyes.*

  34. lol I am use to it from birth so I know how to laugh it off and just be unfazed.

    America’s lots of laws that throw men in jail on the slightest whim causes more men to pay attention to the words coming out of a woman’s mouth.

    Jamaican communication is about a lot of subtleties not just the words. If your mouth is saying no and your body language is saying yes, or anything other than NO…they are going to keep going. Your entire body has to radiate “no” vibes before they even get within speaking distance, preferably.

    Plus they flirt as hi, hello, and bye. It’s common and means nothing really to walk down the road in Jamaica and be referred to as a Princess, Empress, or Daughter etc. all day long…it’s not even just for tourists they do it it’s every woman radiating class or beauty or sex appeal or all three…that’s just how they are.

    But persistence is their middle name, and it makes me laugh, except when one that’s too old goes too far. Then you just have to get scarce. I remember I told one (young) guy that I was not attracted to him in “that” way after probably nearly half my college career spent deflecting his flirts…he said “but you don’t know that!” I had to LAUGH at the brazen confidence cause most men would have been like ouch she not attracted to me dang.

    Arab men also use lots of flowery words to a woman they are interested in.

    I never thought of it as misogynistic…cause Jamaican men are also in great numbers the type to get with a woman who has even multiple children from someone else and take care of all hers all his and all theirs…they are very loving with woman they respect as decent/good women. Women who fail the class judgment though. Well…not so much. Classism is alive and well in Ja. and it affects everything. Don’t be annoyed just act like it’s small talk and change the topic. And if you find him at all attractive make sure your body language lies about it cause they pick up on EVERYthing.

  35. I’m afraid it’s one of the ways sexism presents itself in my culture. But no man here would call a woman he’s catcalling princess or empress.

    The best tactic here is to ignore or appear disinterested. If he says something, pretend you don’t understand what he’s talking about. But you’re right: if anything about you signalizes a flirt sign, there’s no way they’d take your “no” seriously.

    On the other hand, as disgusting these pushy men are, I must admit some attitudes found in the US confuse me a bit. Please don’t get me wrong, but it seems sometimes that it’s all about political correctness in the US, that women find offensive some things that are not harmful at all. Like giving a compliment to your co-worker who doesn’t want it, or something like that.

  36. lols that what I was telling Robynne…lol have to fake like you didn’t even realize they flirting and change topic!

    Yeah the black men in america are quick to call a woman a b*tch or degrade her somehow if she says no. So they discount the no too, but at the expense of her dignity. I can’t deal with that at all the relations here seem very hostile underneath it all…

    And yes women do get offended by some things here that might be a non-issue back home…considering most who don’t meet their husband at college meet him at the job or something job-related…that gets awkward as far as windows of opportunity (not that I advocate being HARASSED at work, but if a man can’t show interest at the place you spend most of your time, then when?). And America has a serious work culture that drains the life out of most of us for most of the week, so I don’t know how that’s to resolve itself lol.

  37. I remember once being back home visiting and trying to give a guy an example of why a lot of men get in trouble in america… I said say you and a girl out and getting all romantic, you kiss her, her body’s responding, you get almost to the point, she says no, but her body reacting all over to you. You listening to her mouth or body?

    He didn’t even draw a breath before he said “body”…I said you can’t do that in america you’ll go to jail if she press charges.

    He was amazed. Said if that be the case every man in Jamaica would go to jail. And decided America is a very frightening place he wasn’t interested. lols. He still lives down there, doing well too.

  38. Well, there’s always hostility underneath. If you say no, or insult him, you are a slut (whore, whatever- I never know what’s the right word). But then again, you are even a bigger slut if you say yes. The idea is that no respectable girl would dress and act in such a way to provoke cat calling.

    On the other side of the spectrum, a male friend of mine (a very nice and a polite guy) almost got sued for sexual harassment while he was in the US because he gave a rose to his co-worker. He didn’t even ask her out.

    (Now I feel we’re getting off topic…)

  39. Hmmm… Here, normal guys pay attention to your no, but only before the act. If you let him do stuff, you can’t say no in the middle of it, unless he does something bad or requests something or hurts you. But you can’t just say no in the middle of it, as I understand you can in the US. Also, drunken sex is considered like any other when it comes to consent.

  40. No no hostility with a Jamaican long as you don’t SHAME him when you turn him down, especially in front of people. We REALLY hate being embarrassed.

    omg at the rose. See what I mean. Non-issue in Jamaica.

    lol at off-topic, just comparing notes on the discounting no displays in different countries. Hopefully Alee will forgive us if we derailed the comments.

  41. @ Eloquence – I was born there too, and I grew up there as well. My body language clearly conveys disgust and annoyance, yet some of those idiots still continue. Because they feel entitled to your attention and nothing else. They do not respect personal space or boundaries. I took a year off before going to grad school, so I went home for a bit and worked there. I was spoiled by America I guess, because here people generally respect boundaries with respect to touching, unless it’s some uncouth DBR. Well, in that bank where I worked, the men there did not understand the meaning of boundaries. There was one who liked extra long handshakes and had this faux charming smile (he was married btw). Then there was the leering guy – the one that blatantly undressed every woman with his eyes (he was a bitter divorce’. I wonder why his marriage ended. Gee. ). Then there was the one who touched my bottom (that one really upset me). Then when I respond negatively I’m told that I “gwaan like mi nice” – ie I think I am better than everyone. They just don’t have any manners or respect, that’s why they continue. No means no. I’m not interested means exactly that. I don’t care if he thinks my body language says otherwise. Please take my words at face value. People there don’t take sexual harassment seriously. I love that people take it seriously here.

    Men who catcall to random women lack any kind of manners and class. Especially the disgusting ones who make sexual innuendos. It is sexist. They don’t have any broughtupcy; somebody forgot to teach them how to approach women properly and that catcalling is rude. Another thing that I find annoying is that they don’t know the difference between an appreciative look and a leer.

    Lol at the rose. It depends on who it came from. If it was from any of the three guys I described above, I’d be pressing charges. LOL.

  42. I must say, even before coming to the States, I was always big on personal space and boundaries. So I set in really well with that aspect of American culture. I could never ever get down with random people making physical contact with me. I don’t know you, we don’t roll like that, please take your hands away. For instance, if you ever take a bus in Jamaica, when the bus makes a turn on some sharp corner, the person beside you doesn’t even try to brace him or herself so as to minimize contact. Oh no, some have the nerve to put their full body weight on you. Ugggh. Or nasty random men who think it’s okay to grab your hand when walking. That grosses me out, especially since they use the “bathroom” anywhere. Plus, I don’t know you. I’m not comfortable making physical contact with people I don’t really know.

  43. “lol at off-topic, just comparing notes on the discounting no displays in different countries. Hopefully Alee will forgive us if we derailed the comments.”

    Nope, it’s definitely on-topic. I asked if anyone recognized these methods or had them used on them. So these are good examples. 🙂

  44. Mira,

    “On the other hand, as disgusting these pushy men are, I must admit some attitudes found in the US confuse me a bit. Please don’t get me wrong, but it seems sometimes that it’s all about political correctness in the US, that women find offensive some things that are not harmful at all. Like giving a compliment to your co-worker who doesn’t want it, or something like that.”

    It’s not about being politically correct but about respecting boundaries. You wouldn’t get in trouble if you complimented your co-worker, but if you make a habit out of complimenting her, and making comments about her personal appearance, dress, etc., that’s seen as harassment. At some point you have to stop because you’re not respecting her as a person. And things can easily move to physical harassment if you don’t stop it early enough.

    Eloquence,

    “Yeah the black men in america are quick to call a woman a b*tch or degrade her somehow if she says no. So they discount the no too, but at the expense of her dignity. I can’t deal with that at all the relations here seem very hostile underneath it all…”

    Sometimes you don’t even have to say “no”. Just ignore them and you get called all sorts of obscenities. And yes, there is hostility too. They get angry that you’re rebuffing them.

  45. Robynne,

    “My body language clearly conveys disgust and annoyance, yet some of those idiots still continue. Because they feel entitled to your attention and nothing else. They do not respect personal space or boundaries.”

    That’s terrible. Truly.

    But it’s good to know this about Jamaica — I had no idea. Most of the people I know who are Jamaican are men or 2nd generation immigrants so I’ve never gotten the “inside scoop”.

    “I could never ever get down with random people making physical contact with me. I don’t know you, we don’t roll like that, please take your hands away. “

    Same here. Based on your comments, it seems like you and I would get along really well in real life.

  46. Robynne I have never had random men TOUCH me in Jamaica! Only Jamaican did that to me was an old mechanic here who is like a throwback relic and the type to be a child molester if you ask me!

    Men down there tell me I AM nice, not gwaan like. So I don’t know maybe there is something different going on. I never worked in an office down there but I have friends who do and they don’t seem to have any crazy stories.

    Different strokes I guess. When in a west indian club in Jamaica or here, no man gets all touchy feely grabbing my bottom. In an American club? (Black American/hip hop night)….man I have had on a simple halter top and WIDE leg pants just walking not even dancing and STILL got my butt manhandled! They just act like apes that just got out of prison! No matter how sexy the dancing gets in Jamaica that NEVER happens to me!

  47. It’s not about being politically correct but about respecting boundaries.

    True, but “boundaries” seem to be cultural. What I’m saying is, some things that are considered ok in my culture would be seen as not respecting boundaries in yours. Like this compliments thing; people do that all the time. In fact, it’s considered a polite thing to do.

    Women do this all the time to other women. Not commenting on someone’s dress, or hairstyle, or whatever, is seen as rude. Ok, well not rude, but compliments are definitely welcomed. Also, women tend to touch each other a lot. They kiss on the cheek or touch each others’ hair (I can only imagine cultural clash with a Serbian woman attempting this with a black American woman), etc. These things are considered polite socializing.

    Now, one of the reasons people find me cold is because I don’t like that stuff. First of all, I don’t like strangers to touch me (an co-workers are strangers), but people here see that as a normal part of bonding and socializing. Because I don’t feel comfortable doing that is one of the reasons people see me as cold or unfriendly.

  48. Mira,

    Yes, boundaries are definitely cultural. And when you’re in a certain culture, I guess you’ll just have to learn to respect that culture’s boundaries.

    Women complimenting other women is done here too. It’s different because they’re not men, so it’s not perceived as a come-on. Kissing and touching… maybe if you’re friends. I would not try that with someone you don’t know.

  49. Well, men don’t touch women that often, but it happens. Co-workers hug all the time, for example (male/female).

    I am not saying that the Serbian guy I was talking about did the right thing. I’m just saying I know the guy and he was definitely not one of those rude, pushy guys. I guess it never occurred to him something like that could be taken as offensive.

    Speaking of boundaries and cultural differences, there are more extreme cases. Not long time ago, a Serbian couple living in America was accused of pedophilia and their kids were taken from them because they had naked photos of their children on the computer. Having naked photos of your kids is not seen as taboo in my culture; we all have tons of similar photos. I mean, it’s not seen sexual or offensive or anything. Young kids (aged 3-4) are naked at the beach; it’s also seen as normal.

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