Standing in the hallway at school in ninth grade, I remember a boy that I never really cared for, but tolerated, calling me a bitch because I wouldn’t let him be handsy with me. I was putting my things in my locker when he touched my backside and asked if I was “interested” in not so polite terms. I removed his hand, gave him my best death glare, and said no. His exact response was, “Good because you’re a bitch anyway.” I remember telling him he was right and stomping off.

Later, as I over thought and overanalyzed what had happened, I got really sad. He called me a mean name because I wouldn’t let him fondle me in the school hallway. I took it to heart. After thinking about it, I got really mad all over again. If standing up for myself made me a bitch, then so be it.

I’ve seen it time after time where a girl rejects someone, and they retaliate with name calling or worse. Then come the rumors and whispers and retaliation.

If you say no, you’re a bitch.

No should be a word of empowerment.

Over the years, I’ve gotten more comfortable with no.

No, you can’t speak to me that way.

No, I’m not comfortable with that.

No, you can’t touch me.

No, I won’t accept the status quo.

No, you can’t walk all over me.

Use your no. Own your no.

Now, if someone calls me a name or is rude because I said no. I smile. You have the right to say no and stand up for yourself.

Own your no.

Women who have gone before us have not always had the right to say no. We owe it to them to use what we are able to now.

Use your yes as well.

Yes, I am angry.

Yes, I said no.

Yes, I really meant it.

Yes, I am offended.

Yes, I am standing up for myself.

Use your no if you’re not comfortable, if your heart says no, if you know what’s happening is wrong, or if someone is mistreating you.

Always use your no.