Sometimes, I use Strava to record my runs. It records how far and how fast I run, which is cool. When I am harassed and groped on my run, it records that, too. So, here you go:
See the red line that echoes the path I ran? See how it juts back, jagged and severe? That’s where it happened. I was running by myself, and I was stopped by two drunk men (guys? barely men). One of them taunted me and the other grabbed my ass. They were bigger than me, I was caught off guard. I yelled at them, they laughed and gave me some more choice words, and I ran away. This was all in broad daylight.
I tried to fight back tears as I resumed my run, feeling helpless and enraged and frustrated. A man came up to me afterwards – “I SAW THAT! ARE YOU OKAY!?” he said, breathlessly. Sure, I’m fine. I’m still running, aren’t I? My breath was still caught in my throat but I kept on moving, trying to get further away from where it happened. At the risk of sounding indelicate, I still regret not kicking either of them in the balls. I made a conscious choice in that moment not to be violent, but now I’m not sure that my restraint was as morally rewarding as I would have imagined.
If you’re interested in justice, there’s none here. Those guys went on living their lives, perhaps they won’t even recall the interaction. I’m assuming they do this type of thing to women regularly. I imagine that the small violation I had to experience is just one way in which their aggression towards women manifests. I felt — I still feel — very sad for the women in the lives of these men.
I feel deflated by the whole thing. I tend to go through my life believing in my own power, in this idea that I control my own fate. That idea is challenged when I am made to feel like a victim when I’m out running (or walking home from dinner, or commuting… this shit happens to women everywhere). So, I have a question for women who run: Have you had experience being harassed on runs? Have you changed your habits due to harassment?
Thanks for letting me share. Be safe out there, and when people violently enter your space, you have my blessing to kick them in the balls.