-you are male, encouraging women to read a book written by a male. I do not mean to be unkind and I certainly appreciate your concern and obvious protective instincts, but no man will ever understand how women are forced to live if they are near people. We are trained almost from birth to do a hundred things every day of our lives to protect ourselves.
No one tells young men to carry keys between their fingers
We never tell boys to park in well lit areas
We do not teach our sons to wear gloves so they can keep their hands out of their pockets
We do not tell boys to stay out of alleys, parks, parkades and empty buildings
No boy is told to get off the elevator if a man gets on
And boys don't traditionally get rape whistles as gifts
If we were impolite to every man who got pushy with us, we would never be polite. And a vast majority of said pushy men truly mean no harm, they are taught to be forceful and aggressive. I had a boss who was fond of forcing himself into my space, with no intent to harm he was just pushy. Every time he did it I wanted to throat punch him, instead I had to smile and say please back up. I have had total strangers trap me against my own truck trying to offer unasked for assistance. Again a smile and a please back up. I actually had a man try and take a box out of my arms because it looked heavy. A lot of men are completely oblivious to the fact that they are making women uncomfortable.
Trust your gut, absolutely. If it feels wrong it is, but it is not always necessary to be rude and often in doing so we lower ourselves.
Can't figure out why a woman should disregard de Becker's expertise just because he's male. Why not read his book before you blow him off just because he's a guy? You don't know me, so that's different, but here are de Becker's credentials:
"Gavin de Becker is a three-time presidential appointee whose pioneering work has changed the way our government evaluates threats to our nation's highest officials. His firm advises many of the world's most prominent media figures, corporations, and law enforcement agencies on predicting violence, and it also serves regular citizens who are victims of domestic abuse and stalking."
My girlfriend is female and a lot smarter than I am. Believe me she doesn't waste time worrying about being "rude" to creepy pushy strangers or "lowering herself" by being rude to them. She worries about survival in those situations. She has followed de Becker's advice twice and it has gotten her out of some potentially very bad situations. She couldn't care less about his gender. She cares about the fact that he knows what he's talking about and his methods work. Her "rudeness" and willingness to take the advice of a male expert are the reasons I still have a girlfriend. And BTW she is very polite when it's appropriate.
No one in this thread has been talking about interactions with the boss in the workplace. Yeah, just about everyone has to kiss up to jerks on the job. That has nothing to do with how you respond to a stranger who is pushing unwanted attention on you.
For those who are interested, de Becker also has a great book about protecting your children, which has some startling but excellent advice, called Protecting the Gift. It has one of the most heartbreaking stories I've ever heard in it, about a lady who was shopping at a mall with her bored 9-year-old son. A strange man nicely but persistently kept bugging her about letting him help her out by taking her son to a video arcade. She didn't want to "lower herself" by being "rude." Instead of immediately grabbing her son, shouting, "I don't know you! Get away from me and my son! I am not letting you take my son anywhere!" and finding the nearest security guard, she kept politely conversing with the man, worried about her "good manners" as she politely refused his offers. Then she turned her back for a moment, and when she turned around her son and the man were gone. She caught only a brief glimpse of them before they disappeared into the mall crowd.
She never saw her son again.
Everyone has to make their own choices, and I have no interest in trying to convince people who don't want to be convinced. But some folks are interested in what a true expert has to say, and maybe it will save the life of someone here (or their kid)--and not necessarily just women. Women are most often the victims, but men get victimized too, and de Becker's advice also works for them.
Last post on this. Ya'll can make up your own minds. I have dogs to train.