Running is my recreational sport. When I run, I never think about running alone, or at night, or in the country. But then, I’m a man.
I remember when I lived in California, almost every weekday I used to run after work on the Santa Ana River trail with some coworkers, including a young lady. Once when I happened to move into single file directly behind her, she immediately turned around to see who was there. That’s something I probably wouldn’t have been worried about.
Running has had a negative side for me. But the bad has always been personal injury and disappointment, not personal safety. Yet if you talk to a long-time female runner, almost all of them have been yelled at, propositioned, or harassed at one time or another.
I was reminded of this yet again while I was filing last year’s magazines and I reread “Running While Female” in the December 2016 issue of Runner’s World. I’ll spare you the out-and-out crime stories; the day-to-day incidents are sobering enough. According to this report, 43% of women runners say they are harassed at least sometimes; 30% have been followed by someone in a vehicle, on a bicycle, or on foot; five percent have been flashed; 18% have been sexually propositioned; and three percent have been assaulted in some way. Sad.
The article is embellished with quotes, the contents of which you can probably guess, so I’ll just repeat one.
“A police car rolled up behind me and blared on the megaphone, ‘Stop running!’ When I turned around, I discovered that they were calling to a man that had been chasing me.”
The complete article is available at http://www.runnersworld.com/running-while-female.