Women should be able to run without fear

One of the benefits of running that I love the most is that while I wear my body out, I clear my mind. I have run with groups and I love to run with others during races, but day in and day out I relish this time alone.
So when I read yet another story about a woman being attacked while jogging, I was angry.
Not nearly as angry, however, as I became when I read the four comments on the bottom of the story.
After reading about a woman who was running on a dirt trail in Provo at 3:15 p.m., these four readers thought it necessary to chastise women!
Their sage advice amounted to blaming her for wanting to go running alone on a dirt trail.
Here are their unedited comments.
Chase | 12:23 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010
Saint George, UT
This makes me sick – my wife is out every day.
You ladies gotta carry the pepper spray!
How many attacks do you think we’ll reader hear about when pervs are getting sprayed left and right?
Show’em who is boss!
getrealpleeze | 7:18 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT
Good grief why in the HECK are women still jogging alone at night, on these lonely dirt paths????? Don’t they read the papers regarding the number of attacks on single women joggers? At Night let alone on a lonely dirt path?
Liberal Ted | 7:56 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT
getrealpleeze | 7:18 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010
Salt Lake City, UT
The article said this happened at 3:15 p.m. Hardly at night. This was pretty much in the middle of the day.
Although if you’re going to jog alone, at least run along a sidewalk on a busier road or take a friend on the dirt trail. Try not to be a single target.
ediddy | 7:58 a.m. Oct. 8, 2010
Woods Cross, UT
Just for the record, 3:15PM is not “night time”. That said, with the increasing numbers of attacks, at the very least, women must stop running alone in remote areas. It would be my preference that they start carrying personal firearms and shoot a few of these creeps, but that is another issue.
It really irritates me that we must consider curtailing our freedom to avoid criminal elements. Our world is a changing.

I have some news for these four people and anyone who thinks like them. Women like to run alone. We like to run on trails. We don’t deserve to be attacked or chastised because we may not have a friend who runs. We may not want to carry chemicals or a weapon. We may not have a friend who is available to run when we can. And we may not want to run on busy streets. Some of us are attracted to running because we can get away from the chaos.

Why is it always a woman’s fault? If she wears tight clothing, she asks for whatever she gets. If she is out alone at night, she should have known better. If she wants to run on trails by herself, then she’d better carry a gun?
Seriously, I can’t believe how ridiculous these sentiments are. Why not wonder why we have so many deviant men running around attacking women in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY!? Why not feel badly that we have to run on treadmills in the safety of a gym because some men can’t control themselves? Why not pray the police catch this guy before he attacks another woman who dares to go grocery shopping alone at the unholy hour of 10 a.m.?

I have a beautiful 16-year-ol daughter who loves to run. She asked me if she could go running one evening about 8:30 p.m. this summer, and I said no. Not because I don’t want her to enjoy the beauty and freedom of running at night. Not because I don’t want her to enjoy the health benefits that come from being active and fit.
And not because I don’t want her to feel that confidence that comes from accomplishing something difficult.

I said no because I am afraid. I said no because that’s what society has trained me to do.
I said no because we are women, and the sad, terrifying, infuriating reality is that no matter what we do, we are to blame.
Apparently, we should travel in packs, only in the daylight hours and we should be armed for combat. We shouldn’t dress provocatively (a standard that varies wildly), even though study after study shows rape isn’t about sexuality. It’s about power.
And finally, we should do anything that amounts to living an adventurous life because that might make us a target.

I know we’ll never get rid of the perverts completely. To the one man who said the world is changing, I say, “I WISH IT WAS!!”
I wish I didn’t have to instill my fear into the heart of my daughter. I wish I didn’t have to warn her and tell her horror stories to keep her safe. And, at the very least, I wish that scaring her would actually keep her safe.

I want to run without fear. I want to run alone. I want to run at night. I want to run on trails. I don’t want to restrict my behavior because some men lack impulse control, morals or a conscience.
And I want to live in a world that condemns the horribly sick person who attacks an innocent woman. Not this one where women criticized just for living life.
And finally, I want men (and women who think like them) to take a good hard look in the mirror and ask themselves why it is that we keep blaming victims for the sick and twisted behavior of criminals?

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