No means NO
Every girl has her own way of saying NO!
It’s wrong for boys or men to come on to a girl in a stupid way, whistle
after her or pester her with words, glances or touches.
You can be impolite to men and boys who behave like that and you never need to justify saying NO to them.
It’s not necessary and you don’t have to stress yourself to be particularly cool, quick witted or funny when someone makes a stupid pass at you. Regardless of what you do, it is important for you to know: You have the right to stand up for yourself! Sometimes it’s not easy to know what you want. It’s a bit easier to know what you don’t want. And often that’s enough to know!
Some older adolescents, grown up men and women deliberately try to
confuse you. Some may fondle you for example while pretending they only
touched you accidentally. Others may show you unpleasant or embarrassing
pictures or pornographic films and say that’s normal.
If someone hurts you in such a way you have the right to say NO. You can do anything to protect yourself: You could be impolite, use excuses, scream, spit, run away … .
If a situation makes you feel strange or you get a weird feeling, take it seriously! Think and check out your options. If you react quickly, you remain in command. That way you have more possibilities to get out of the situation instead of waiting what’s going to happen.
Tenderness is beautiful. You can decide with whom and when you
want to be close. Even if you like a boy very much and you like to cuddle and
kiss him remember – only do what is pleasant for you. For you to feel good,
it’s not crucial what the boy wants, but only what you like.
It is not ok if a boy tries to persuade you or even to put you under pressure to do something more than you want.
May be you told your parents you went to your girlfriends’ house. But you met up with someone else. Even then it’s not your fault if someone puts you under pressure or molests you!
You can wear anything you like. Making yourself look pretty or simply
wearing dresses you think will make yourself look great never gives anybody the
right to pester or molest you.
Nobody has the right to scare you with words (i.e. a threat or blackmail), physical violence or other nasty tricks.
If someone hurts your feelings or tells you a secret that makes you feel bad, you can talk about it. That’s no telltaling and no betrayal!
If someone gives you a present you can accept it by any means. But you
can also decline presents or invitations. You do not have to give
anything in return for any present or other so called gestures of friendship. If
someone gave you a present in order for you to do him or her a favour that’s
blackmail and is not ok.
Sometimes someone calls you up and moans or talks dirty on the phone and tries to get you to talk to him or her. You can defend yourself against such molestation by slamming the receiver down or take a referee’s whistle and make a lot of noise.
In dangerous situations your determination is what counts. You can
run away, make excuses, yell or repeat over and over: "I don’t want
to!" You can simply say the same 5-, 6-, 10 – times over without
having to explain why you don’t want to. The important thing is to hold out and
keep up the noise.
Oftentimes it’s difficult to defend oneself on your own. Think of who can help you. Do you have a girlfriend who stands by you? Is there a (lady) teacher, a social worker at the youth centre …, whom you trust? Take up all your courage and tell her about it. If you are not believed immediately or you don’t have the courage just yet to talk to someone – don’t give up! Remember: it’s not your fault!
You can also make contact with a counselling centre. Your girlfriend, (lady) teacher, the social worker … may know an address of a centre working against sexual abuse or a girl counselling centre.
of books for adolescent girls:
Quaine Bain, Maureen Sanders: Wege aus dem Labyrinth. (Out in the open.) Adolescents ask questions concerning sexual abuse. donna Vita Verlag
Jane Goldman: take care! Tips concerning self-defence and self-assurance. Kerle Verlag.
Comics for girls in elementary school:
Ursula Enders, Ulfert Boehme, Dorothee Wolters: Lass das – nimm die Finger weg! (Stop it – take off your fingers!)
Working at school or with a girls group …
Auf den Spuren starker Mädchen. (Following the tracks of strong girls)
Cartoons for girls – beyond good and bad. Including pedagogical information. Created by Irmgard Schaffrin and Dorothee Wolters.
To order at Zartbitter Köln
Judicial guide against sexual abuse for girls (and counsellors)
Friesa Fastie: Ich weiss Bescheid! (I know!)
donna vita Verlag
Many thanks to Frau Schmitzz, a group of female Wen-do trainers who offer self-assertion courses for girls and women in and around Cologne. Frau Schmitzz supported the creation of "No means NO!".
© Zartbitter Köln 2001
No means NO! Tips for self-assertion for girls.
Idea and editorial: Ursula Enders
Illustration: Dorothee Wolters, Köln
Coordination of the translation: Ida Schrage, agisra Köln
Translation: Julia von Weiler
Zartbitter Köln is an information and counselling centre against sexual abuse of girls and boys.
More information at:
Zartbitter Köln, Sachsenring 2-4, D-50677 Köln.
Supported by SONY and
donations account: BFS
(bank code 370 205 00)
account number: 812 57 00