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Posts Tagged ‘harassment’

It’s impossible to be a runner for too long without hearing the stories of women who’ve been harassed, catcalled, or even injured or assaulted while running. It is a chillingly common experience for my fellow female runners, and it is completely unacceptable.

Everyone should feel safe when they run – which seems blindingly obvious, like something we should be able to take for granted. But we can’t, because of the evidence: so many women report being antagonized or hurt while they’re out running. The sport I love, which has brought me so much joy and freedom, becomes a context for pain and fear when people threaten or assault female runners.

I usually feel safe when I run here in Eastie, or in my parents’ neighborhood in West Texas, or even on the High Line in New York. But I definitely think twice before heading out the door: do I have my phone? Am I running in a well-lit neighborhood, especially at night? What will I do if a suspicious person approaches me? Here in the city, close to home, I worry less – but I still go through that mental checklist.

Here’s the thing: the onus should not be on me to ensure my own safety while running. It is everyone’s responsibility to treat others with care and respect. I am not “asking for” anything by going out for a run, except space to do it. I shouldn’t even have to think about harassment or threats, and neither should the many women who have endured painful or dangerous experiences while running. (It need hardly be said: as a white woman, I’m far less likely to suffer harassment or worse than women of color.)

My local running store, Marathon Sports, is sponsoring the #LetHerRun virtual 5K this weekend. I’m participating, because I believe everyone should have the right to run without fear, and because the proceeds will go to aid victims of domestic violence. Join me?

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