It’s Time to Abolish the “No Means Maybe” Mentality

Dr. Pamela Gurley, D.M.
3 min readSep 8, 2023

It’s time to call out this toxic behavior — too many women are being attacked just for saying “no” to men’s advances. This is not okay. It’s not flattering, it’s not romantic — it’s harassment. Why is it that some men can’t handle rejection without resorting to verbal abuse, harassment, or even physical violence? It’s disturbing! Of course, there are assault and battery laws, but it just feels like that is not enough. It does not quite fit domestic violence because there is no relationship — just an advance.

It’s a sad reality that women have been subjected to harassment and abuse from men who cannot handle rejection. This toxic behavior has become alarmingly common, and the fact that women are being attacked for simply saying “no” is unacceptable. We’re living in an era where harassment and assault have become rampant, and it’s high time for us to dig deeper and understand why some men cannot accept a woman’s answer. Perhaps it is time it is treated as a serious crime and for lawmakers to take the necessary measures to abolish it.

The #MeToo movement brought attention to this issue years ago, and more women have begun to speak up about their experiences of harassment. While this has helped shed light on the toxic behavior some men exhibit, it still very much exists, and it is like we sweep it under the rug (especially for minority women). We need to abolish the “no means maybe” mentality as it sends the wrong message to men.

Secondly, we must understand that this issue is not limited to any geographical location or country. Women are constantly subjected to harassment and abuse, whether they live in big cities or small towns. It’s also important to note that women who belong to marginalized communities and low socio-economic backgrounds are more vulnerable to sexual advances, harassment, and abuse.

Men need to know that “no” means “no” and respect women’s decisions that their advances are not welcome. Simultaneously, women need to learn how to protect themselves from harassment and abuse. They need to be aware of the signs of harassment and know that they can report it to the authorities if it gets too far out of line. The sad reality is that often, it is after something horrific happens — it is hard to be proactive when the only choice you have is to be reactive.

The government and lawmakers must take the necessary measures to protect women from assault and harassment. The laws must be stringent, and the punishment must be severe to deter men from engaging in any abusive behavior toward women who reject their advances. There are mechanisms in place for women to report harassment, but do the authorities take prompt or proper action to help them?

We must understand that change won’t come overnight. We must start by abolishing the “no means maybe” mentality and treat harassment and assault as a crime. We must hold men accountable for their actions, and women must be encouraged to speak up. The bottom line is that women should have the right to say “no” without being subjected to any form of abuse or violence.



Dr. Pamela Gurley, D.M.

Business & Leadership Expert. The Un@pologetic Entrepreneur. Feat’d in Forbes, on Good Morning Washington & Fox5Atl. Connect on IG, FB, & Twitter: @iamdrpgurley