“Can men help without white-knighting?”

On 30 May 2014 Redditor Tinned_Tuna asked, “Can men help without white-knighting?” Here are some replies (lightly edited):

• swordofthejedi wrote, “White knight is a f[**]king internet myth and if you see any person being bullied, marginalized, harassed, or in any other way abused online and you would like to speak up, don’t let some petty name calling get in the way of that. F[**]k, I’ve been called white knight so many times you wouldn’t even believe it, and I’m a f[**]king girl.”

• gonnaloseweight wrote, “Personally, I wouldn’t want someone to come over and pretend to be my friend/boyfriend because I don’t really know you and you might be just as dodgy as the next guy. Coming over and saying ‘Hey, is this person bothering you?’ or just straight up telling them to stop pestering me would definitely be appreciated, though. One time I was walking through a dodgy bit of town and a group of young guys was walking behind me. They asked me if I had any cigarettes and I replied that I didn’t, but then they started talking about me and one of the guys started asking if I had a boyfriend. Before I could even say anything, his friend turned to him and was like ‘Dude, not cool, don’t ask her that’ and I so appreciated that!”

• aldreaorcinaewrote, “It depends on how far you are willing to go and the exact situation. A lot of times, a simple ‘Hey, not cool, bro!’ will stop a guy harassing a woman, but only if they think you are ‘with’ that woman (e.g. she has been ‘claimed’ by you) and some drunk [*]ssholes will always try to escalate. I’ve had men say ‘Oh, that’s your boyfriend? Then let’s see you kiss him right now’.

“I haven’t personally had this happen, but if I was being harassed by a guy, and someone else came up and said ‘Hey, SARAH! I haven’t seen you since high school! How the hell have you been? Let’s go catch up,’ That would be PERFECT because it would give me the opportunity to blow off the harasser and move somewhere where I was in more control of my space. It doesn’t matter that my name is not Sarah or that I moved from the town where I attended high school. It’s just a good way to ‘rescue’ someone from an awkward situation. Then immediately follow up with ‘I hope what I did was okay — that guy seemed to be making you uncomfortable,’ and then ask her if she needs any more help (walking her to her car, wait with her for a ride/cab, whatever). Now, this is a tactic that women sometimes employ to help out their fellow girl; your mileage may vary if you’re a large, strong looking man. Some women may take it as an ‘out of the frying pan into the fire’ sort of situation. So tread carefully.

“But that shock and fear and the strong desire to just get the f[**]k out of there is what some people need help with if they are cornered by a creeper. Just giving them a reason to not be there any more, even if it’s a fake one, is immensely helpful.”

• illegal_seagull wrote, “My 2 cents, though, is that in situations where I have felt unsafe and a stranger has stepped in to protect me, I felt very thankful to that stranger when they expected absolutely nothing in return for helping me out.

“For example, I was on the train once with a more-crazy-than-usual crazy guy. He was very aggressive. When it was time to get off the train, I went over and waited in front of the doors and the crazy guy leapt to his feet towards the doors, presumably to get off the train and follow me somewhere. Suddenly I felt someone standing very close behind me, right as the doors were about to open. I quickly (and frightenedly) looked over my shoulder to find a Latino guy standing closer behind me than a stranger should. He said calmly, ‘Don’t worry, I’m right behind you.’ He exited the train with me and made sure I got down the steps without the crazy guy anywhere near me and then just walked off into the night with me barely able to shout a thank you behind him.

“He didn’t expect anything from his help — he just saw someone who was nervous about a crazy person, and made sure that she got to safety. That’s exactly how you should do it.”

For Further Information: Tinned_Tuna, “Can men help without white-knighting?” Reddit. 30 May 2014


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