Two years ago, some friends and I witnessed a woman get punched in the face by a man just off Bourbon Street in New Orleans. While we immediate went to her aid, the man simply stepped over her like she was trash and merged with the crowd while his friend filmed the entire scene.

What provoked the attack? She refused to give him her phone number and he snapped.

Back in college, my roommate, her cousin, and I road tripped to the Bay Area during Spring Break. On our way to a tiny nightclub in Oakland, my roommate’s cousin gave us one piece of advice: “If a man asks you to dance, just do it. They punch girls up here.”

I was reminded of these stories yesterday when I read about a 19-year-old woman in the UK who is trying to piece her life back together after being bashed in the head with a champagne bottle when she turned down a man’s advances at a nightclub. Although she escaped with her life (thankfully), doctors had to insert a plate into her jaw and she no longer goes out because she doesn’t feel safe.

These incidents are not unique; they happen way too often. And although it would be nice to believe that a spurned man would deal with rejection like a grown up or have sensible friends who could convince him to just move on to the next woman, this isn’t always the case.

Women have lost lives and/or been seriously injured at the hands of men they did not know simply because they were not interested in a conversation.

Which begs the question, what can we do?

If we cannot rely on the man’s own common sense, or his friends, or bystanders to step up, how can we women best protect ourselves from being assaulted by some idiot with a fragile ego?

I’m asking for real, Clutchettes.

Tell us how you deal with harassment; you may just save a woman’s life.  

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