When Lily Evans set out to walk her puppy, she had no notion the histories of that stroll would afterward go viral on the internet.
When she took to Twitter to recount her experience, she opened with a simple question, one that many humen are more likely wondered for a long time — though women already know the answer.
( Before you click through to the thread itself , note that Lily’s Twitter account is expressly for adults and may be NSFW .)
The walk started off normal enough. Until she ran into a apparently friendly stranger.
A man feeing on a nearby bench offered her dog, Echo, a treat.
He eventually asked her if she lived in the area — which could be considered slightly intrusive — but all in all, it was just small talk.
But then she ran into him again shortly after.
Evans says his friendly banter — maybe innocent, but more likely not — was constructing her unbelievably uncomfortable.
And yet he continued to linger.
Then he invaded her physical space with an out-of-nowhere hug.
“I was scared, ” she wrote.
Evans hastened home, petrified “the mens” would follow her.
He didn’t. But the experience left her shake and upset. Worst of all, she says, she has been through this many, many times before.
Her story went viral in a hurry, with over 44,000 retweets, 68,000 likes, and thousands of comments.
“The response from other women has been fairly heartbreaking, ” Evans writes in a Twitter exchange with Upworthy. “Many, many girls have employed this as an opportunity to share their narratives of harassment, assault, or even only being very frightened.”
The replies to Evans’ tweet thread is littered with similar narratives — seemingly “nice” guys on the street or public transportation who push small talk far past its acceptable boundaries.
Though she’s glad her narrative built other women feel more comfy coming forward with their own experiences, Evans hopes it also leaves any suggestions on men who read it .
“I had several guys ask me how they can be more non-threatening, and that’s exactly what I was aiming for.”
“I got a lot of replies from humen saying, ‘Oh, I’m so sorry that happened, but we aren’t all like that! Some of us are nice guys, ‘” she says. “And while that’s true, my phase was that strangers cannot know what your intents are until it’s too late.
She reaches on an important phase: It’s not inherently incorrect or creepy to strike up a conversation with a stranger, but girls truly never know when a simple “hi” is going to turn into them being followed and harassed.
“I had several guys ask me how they can be more non-threatening, and that’s exactly what I was aiming for, ” she says. “I just want men to be more self-aware and understand that when a woman they don’t know is skittish, it’s nothing personal. We’re just trying to be safe.”
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