Every single person has at least one thing that they enjoy, one thing that in their opinion makes life worth living, or one thing that they believe makes their life more enjoyable. You have the right to choose that thing accordingly. For some it is watching netflix every night when you get home from work, for others it is gardening. Some people enjoy playing video games, trying new restaurants, or golfing. Then there is a group of people that enjoy running. Again, it is your right to choose how you spend your free time and it is your right to enjoy the way you spend your free time as long as you are being respectful of others while doing whatever it is you are doing.
I want you to imagine for a moment that you are doing whatever it is you do. Just imagine that you are completely minding your own business doing whatever it is that makes you happy while being perfectly respectful of everyone around you. Now, imagine that you are being harassed. Imagine that someone is either criticizing you or talking about your body in a way that makes you feel bad about yourself. Do you think you would enjoy that? I don’t enjoy this and I don’t know anyone who does.
As I run down the street at night or in broad day light in what most would consider to be a quintessential small town I am often harassed. Some of the things I have heard are so crude I won’t even publish them on the internet but I can assure you that most of them are about my butt. Before anyone insists I must be asking for this let me inform you that this happens all year. It happens whether I am wearing 6 shirts and 3 pairs of pants in the middle of winter or whether I wear a sports bra and shorts because it is 100 degrees outside. Also, I have the right to wear whatever I want to be comfortable while running in extreme heat AND I HAVE THE RIGHT TO RUN AND FEEL SAFE. Myself and other runners do not ask for harassment we are simply chasing a dream, leading a healthy lifestyle, or enjoying something we love. If you came home from a long stressful day at your job and wanted to spend your time watching netflix would you like if I came up to your window and screamed offensive things about your body–no you would not. If you were eating in a restaurant would you like for me to walk by and say harsh things about your body–no you would not.
What really gets me is that I have been made to feel unsafe by grown men in front of their children and by small children with their parents near by and the parents say nothing. I have been harassed the most by teenagers and if you correct them their parents make you out to be in the wrong. Oh, and I am NOT bashing men because I have been harassed by women . Its not just men harassing women its women harassing women too.
Why do people do this? Has anyone ever gotten a date this way, if so please tell me because I am dying to meet the couple who met because the guy screamed out his pickup truck window at a woman running down the street–did she stop her run and get in the passenger seat of his truck so that they could fall madly in love?
For the people who do these things, why do you do them? Would you like it if someone did this to your wife, sister, mother, girlfriend, or daughter?
I have the right to run and feel safe just as you have the right to do whatever it is you do and feel safe. I want you to consider this when you drive down the street and see a woman running. God help you if it is me because from this moment on I am getting license plate numbers and reporting harassment to the police. If you aren’t in your car don’t worry, I will take a picture of you with my phone and stop by the police station on my way back home. You may have the right to do a lot of things but you do not have the right to make other people feel unsafe especially when they are doing something that they enjoy. I have the right to run and feel safe while doing it. If you think you have the right to harass me just remember that I also have the right to report harassment.