Jameela Jamil opened up a conversation about street harassment and poorly handled rejection on Sunday evening. The Good Place actress shared a few of her own frightening experiences with men she has rejected in the past — including one incident wherein she was allegedly punched in the face — via Twitter. Her stories inspired several other social media users to come forward with their own stories, leading to a discussion about the way rejection is often seen in society.
Jamil began by revealing that she was once out shopping with a friend when a man approached her to give her his number, according to The Independent. She politely declined the offer, thanking him but explaining that she had a boyfriend. The man reportedly then “threatened her career,” and told Jamil she should remember this rejection.
“And then [he] shouts at me that I’m low class…” she wrote.
In a follow-up tweet, she added lightly, “Let a b**** live.”
Another woman responded to Jamil, and noted that it was “gross” that she had to explain that she had a boyfriend in order to “let the man down easy.”
The reply prompted Jamil to share another experience via Twitter. When she was only 19, a man reportedly approached her to make an advance, and she simply said “No, thank you.” The man’s response was to punch Jamil in the face.
“After that whether or not I have a boyfriend, I say I do. Being a woman is truly, constantly scary. It’s like existing on thin ice,” the 33-year-old actress said.
Other Twitter users joined in to discuss why women often have to mention another man in order to stay safe in these situations. One suggested that it is about ownership, while another wrote that it may boil down to ego.
Jamil’s tweets inspired many women to share their own experiences. Some also revealed their methods for staying safe, including holding a male friend’s hand in uncomfortable situations to appear “taken.”
One woman wrote that she is already teaching her young boys how to properly handle rejection from a woman, because it is important to tackle the issue early on.
At the end of the evening, the actress wrote that rejection needs to be seen differently in society, according to Yahoo News.
“We need to teach children about rejection, so that we can change the way we see rejection as a society,” Jamil said. “We need to de-stigmatize it, so that it doesn’t feel like the ground is swallowing you up when someone says no, however nicely. This would lessen their need to lash out.”