Keeper or “Creeper”?

23 Nov

85% of sexual assault is perpetrated by a friend, acquaintance or intimate partner. So how do we know who to trust? How can we tell the difference between flirtation and victimization? Here are some helpful guidelines:

1. Flirting feels fun. Creeping feels creepy.

It may sound obvious, but I often see women tolerating flirtation or relationships with “creepers” because they can’t understand why this person makes them feel creeped out.

Reasons we’re surprised they are creepy–

  • They are physically attractive
  • They are friends with our friends
  • They have not seemed creepy in the past
  • They are educated and/or have a good job
  • They do not seem physically aggressive
  • They are charming and complimentary
  • They offer to buy us things
  • Etc.

To put it simply: If it feels creepy, it is creepy. Listen to your instincts and avoid taking this situation further.

2. Respectful people respect what we say with our words AND our bodies.

If someone respects and cares about you, they will not touch you if you don’t want them to. They will listen to what you say, but you probably won’t need to say anything.  Why? A respectful person notices  if you tense up at their touch and immediately pulls away, whether or not you say you feel uncomfortable. Beyond that–they will not make you feel bad or guilty for not wanting to be touched.

Respectful people say:

“Can I kiss you?”

“Are you okay?”

“You don’t have to do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.”

Disrespectful people say:

“Come on, don’t you like me?”

“What’s wrong with you? Other women like this. Loosen up!”

Disrespectful touch is often used to exert physical control. Examples of this kind of touch include:

  • Leading you around by a hand on the small of your back
  • Holding you in place with an arm around your shoulder
  • Pulling you along by grabbing your wrist
  • Pushing you up against a wall
  • Picking you up and/or carrying you somewhere

These kinds of touch might look like “play”, but the important thing to remember is the context. Does it feel fun to YOU? If yes, then you are fine. If it makes you feel scared, embarrassed, out of control, belittled, or otherwise uncomfortable, then you can be sure you are being disrespected and you deserve better.

3. Healthy affection makes you feel wonderful about yourself. Unhealthy affection attacks your self esteem.

Sincere and caring compliments sound like:

“You look nice/pretty/beautiful/wonderful/etc.”

“I feel really lucky/happy/honored to be spending time with you.”

“You know what I like most about you? You make me laugh/You challenge me intellectually/You are so caring/etc.”

Unhealthy “compliments” are often degrading or controlling:

“Ooh, lookin’ good! I bet you really know how to work it.”

“You can’t wear that in public! All the men are going to want your body, and I want you all to myself!”

The good news is that there are a lot of wonderful caring people out there who will love you AND treat you with respect and caring. Don’t settle for anything less!

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6 Responses to “Keeper or “Creeper”?”


  1. - January 25, 2011

    [...] if someone touches you without your consent and makes you feel creeped out, that is a RED FLAG, even if the person seems attractive in other ways. You can do better. Hold out for the one who [...]

  2. Body Language And Consent « SAFE Women and Girls - March 23, 2011

    [...] is just one more piece of evidence supporting the fact that victims should be believed and that creepers know exactly what they are [...]

  3. How to be polite without inviting unwanted attention « SAFE Women and Girls - May 2, 2011

    [...] out at the gym, maybe buying a drink at a bar—and you see (or feel) him coming a mile away: the creeper. Maybe this is a random creeper. Maybe this is a creeper you deal with regularly. The point is, you [...]

  4. - July 5, 2011

    [...] Creepers gonna creep. [...]

  5. - October 10, 2011

    [...] meeting a person, not a gorilla mask or whatever it may be. That way if that person turns creepy, you could describe them to [...]

  6. How To Avoid Creepers In The Gym « - October 24, 2011

    [...] If it feels creepy, it is creepy. Don’t waste your time and energy playing the, “Is it in my head? Maybe he’s [...]

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