“Run Forest, Run!”, “Hey girl, slow down!”, and “Hey girl, I’ll give you a workout!” are some phrases, along with obnoxious wolf whistles, hollers and glaring stares, that have been barked at me ever since I started running. In general, these degrading actions fly past me and I ignore them. While I have been fortunate enough not to experience physical assault during a run, I have friends that have gone through it and it infuriates me to the core. Running is supposed to be a relaxed outlet to relieve stress and advocate health and body positivity, not as a means to shame and criticize people to invoke fear and insecurity. No longer will I stay silent about the passerby that decides to make a runner paranoid with their words or the car that sits a little too long at a stop light to check a runner out.
Like my fellow female runners in the running community, I do take certain precautions to be safe while I am running alone, such as changing my running routes and clenching my house key between my fingers like a pocket knife. Even then, I can never fully prepare to avoid the snide comments and unsettling stares, because these are just inevitable. It’s sad, but it’s the truth. In a world where sexual harassment is often overlooked, we need to end this perpetuating cycle and lead by example. We must teach not just our children, but people around us to treat each other with kindness and respect. It is honestly not hard at all to remain silent while passing by a runner. To the people guilty of hollering at runners, instead of perpetuating harassment, use running as motivation to exercise that anger out because Lord knows that you’ll need it.
Published by Samantha J.