No Means No

In the Milwaukee area we’ve had a few different incidents with men harassing women in music in some very serious ways. In one case, it’d gotten to the point of a judge awarding a 10-year restraining order to the victim. The musician/stalker is someone we’d worked with a while back, at WMV. The victim is a friend. As a result, WMV and myself were very aware of the situation, as it was taking shape.

This article came out on Monday, in Milwaukee Magazine – detailing what happened to my friend Emily, and some of what we at WMV did in follow-up, to try to assist female musicians in the area as they move forward in their careers. I use the name Allison Emm in the music industry; that is what I am listed as here.

On the same day I was asked to talk about this with the journalist for the article, I was also contacted by Emily’s stalker, via e-mail. He reached out to me after having heard a podcast episode we at WMV had put out, with tips on how to deal with troublesome men – realizing we were talking about him, in parts. This is an excerpt of his response:

I just listened to your solo podcast show about woman’s safety you recorded a few weeks ago. One huge thing you failed to mention (which I feel is extremely important) are the phrases, “Please Stop [action]” and/or  “this situation makes me feel…” 

In the podcast I may not have specifically said exactly what he’s asking for here in my advice, which was simply my own perspective from personal experience – but I very explicitly say to give a clear “no” in situations that call for it. Is that not the same thing? As far as I’m aware, no means no – to anything and everything.

The sad fact that there is an argument here about the semantics of what the word “no” means is showing me what goes on in the mind of someone like this. No one should have to validate their “no” by explaining why… Particularly if someone has demonstrated over and over that he or she is not worth the time, mental/emotional energy or other frustration required to deal with said person.

There is nothing more clear than the word “no” – please honor this. Many of us are on the ready to document the occasions when it does not happen.





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