Thoughts on Lisa Komlos' PSA: Dealing with Creepy Men

In the light of Lisa Komlos' IGTV PSA video, I thought it was important to write this. 

For those of you who don't know, Liza Komlos, a student at Concordia, was approached in her school library on two separate occasions by a man (a different one each time) trying to get her alone. Normally she would not have thought twice about it (as you know, creepy men; its just a day in the life of your average woman...), but the men followed an alarmingly similar script, leading her to believe their activites were linked to the sex trafficking that was happening in Quebec malls, where men targetting women alone and tried to lure them away, or get their number (for more info, read this, or Her Campus' own coverage here).

Since releasing the video on Instagram, many women have come forward. Alissa Infantino was among these women. She too faced this same dialogue. She was approached in the Concordia Metro by a man who told her she was beautiful, and then followed up with more and more questions, following behind her, despite her obvious lack of interest. She ended up asking him forcefully to stop following her, at which point he did. There have been reports at McGill as well. 

Montreal Blog released an article saying that, according to an anonymous source, the similar script was not a method used by a sex trafficking ring, but a pick-up artist who offered advice. Though this may be true, this pick-up artist really needs to step up their game considering his advice creeped a girl out so severely that she made a PSA about it and alerted Concordia security. 

I'm trying to follow the story quite closely because I too have been approached, next to the McLennan library, twice by the same man using the same lines to get my number, starting with, "do you study here?". Though the first time I was polite and he followed up by asking for my number (which when I refused, he told me I should be flattered), the second time freaked me out because he seemed to be following the same script as the first day, but obviously didn't remember me, though it was only 3 days later. This made me think that he'd literally approached so many women that he couldn't remember which ones he had and which ones he hadn't talked to. Of course, this is all speculation, but it's best to be safe.  

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On that note, here is how to deal with creepy men, who think that going up to you and asking for your number is flattering: 

  • Stay in groups. 

Bit obvious, but honestly one of the best methods to stay safe. Men want easy targets, a group is a deterrent to that. If your friends are busy, you can always contact WalkSafe. If that's not available to you, call a friend, put in your earphones, look unapproachable. Don't put your music too loud though, always be aware of your surroundings. 

  • Be firm. 

I have trouble being firm for sure. Not because I am interested, but because I am afraid of how they'll react; I am afraid of hurting them. However, being polite and nice can be perceived as an opening for these men to continue to talk to you. Tell them you're not interested and walk away (if you can). 

  • Tell them you have a significant other. 

As sad as it is, if you're straight and have a boyfriend, chances are these men already respect your boyfriend more than you. I've found this to be one of the most effective ways to get rid of creepy men. 

  • Get them to give you their number. 

If you really can't get away, ask them for their number. Not because you want it, but because once they give it to you and finally leave you alone, you never have to contact them again. Additionally, they won't have your information. This being said, do not give them a fake number. This is risky, as sometimes they'll want to call you in front of you, which will lead to awkwardness or worse.

It's terrible that us women have to tiptoe around men's emotions in order not to face their potential wrath. Overall, it's super frustrating that this even has to be an article. Regardless of whether these events are because of sex trafficking or simply just an overwhelming amount of creepy men, something needs to be done. But for now, until things change, stay safe!!

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