Dating in the modern age is wild. We can’t think of any currently single person who would disagree. While dating apps allow you to connect with countless people you may otherwise never meet, they also create a certain level of anonymity and boldness because people can hide behind their screens and display despicable behavior they likely would never get away with in face-to-face situations. Spend even five minutes on TikTok, and you’ll see screenshots of men verbally abusing, insulting, and even flat-out threatening women when those women reject their advances. While sometimes this happens at the end of a long-term relationship, the frequency with which it happens at the “talking” stage is thanks in part to these dating apps.
Now, there is a nickname name for this behavior: “Jekylling.” The name refers to the famous novel The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, which tells the story of the good-natured Dr. Jekyll whose personality is sometimes suddenly, unpredictably taken over by the evil and monstrous Mr. Hyde. The men who “Jekyll” women make a shocking 180 in their tone and behavior so fast it’s head-spinning and almost feels impossible, just like the strange case in the book. But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction, and while the character in the book suffered from a mysterious condition, the men treating women this way are suffering from something very common: deep-seated misogyny.
What exactly is Jekylling?
If you’re unclear what we’re talking about, ask any single female you know for the screenshots of what happened when she turned a guy down. Chances are, she’s got some evidence of some dude Jekylling her, and it usually goes like this: Man expresses interest, woman politely turns him down, and instead of simply saying “okay,” or just ending the communication, the man will respond by calling the woman ugly, telling her she is beneath him, assuring her that he has gotten tons of girls way hotter than her, calling her demeaning names (like w****, b****, and c***), and sometimes even telling her she deserves to be on the receiving end of violence — sexual or otherwise.
While many in the “Not All Men” movement might deem this “just harmless words,” it is in fact a symptom of a larger trend of women having to expect verbal (or sometimes physical) violence when rejecting men because men in this culture are taught that simply by existing, they are entitled to women’s attention and bodies (via The Washington Post). Don’t buy it? While we won’t depress you with the stories here, a quick Google search will bring up plenty of news stories.
What to do if a man is Jekylling you
In the event of Jekylling, if someone you’re talking to begins to verbally abuse or threaten you, end the conversation and block them on all forms of communication. You do not have to defend yourself or argue; you do not have to engage. Protect yourself and cut that person off. If the conversation happens over social media like Facebook or Instagram messengers, you can report the user to the social media company.
If, however, this person finds other ways of contacting you (like you blocked their number and they continue to harass you by using different phone numbers or social media accounts, or if the person outright threatens you or, God forbid, comes to your home or place of work), you should report them to the police. These are actionable offenses and you are not overreacting. It’s always a good idea to document and keep track of this harassment (screenshots are your friend) in the event that you need to involve police or seek an order of protection (via techsafety.org.au).
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