There’s something that’s been on my mind for a while now and I want to get it off my chest today. Let me back up — it’s been on my mind forever and ever. All day, every day. What is this monumental topic that I can’t get out of my head? The fact that violence against women is a real threat and a big problem. I’m not going to sit here and spew out facts and figures to you. That’s not what this post is about. Because honestly, who cares if a violent crime occurred every 27.1 seconds in 2013? That means nothing to you. Or me, really. They’re just numbers. But what I am going to tell you about is how it feels to be frightened of the “what if,” and the “oh my god,” and the sheer panic and anxiety invoked by learning such statistics.
I’m Sick and Tired of Being Paranoid
I’m sick and tired of being paranoid as a female runner. I am so sick and tired of having to fear the worst in people. Under normal, every day circumstances, I always assume the best of people. I think everyone’s my friend. I believe my neighbor would help me if I were in trouble. But as a runner? I’m an entirely different person. I’m highly suspicious of anyone — especially men. And it’s not fair! It’s not for to me, it’s not fair to them.
Is anyone watching the show Pitch? It’s the new one on FOX about the first female in Major League Baseball. It’s a good show so far, I’m really enjoying it. ***Spoiler alert*** Did you see last week’s episode? It dealt with violence against women and the writers couldn’t have nailed it better if they tried. They asked the main character about how to deal with it and know what she said? She said to stop blaming the woman and “we need to make sure every boy knows it’s wrong to rape.”
YES, WE DO.
I lied. There is a reason this is heavily on my mind right now. I met my friend for pre-dawn miles in a somewhat secluded park this week. We had a major scare (some asshat in an older car drove by, made a U-turn, and then sat with his parking lights on while we sh!t our pants in the woods trying to figure out what to do) and frankly, I’m tired of having major scares! After we were safely on a main road and near some houses, I told my friend that I call my husband at least once a week while I’m on a run because of some sketchy looking car or truck, or some suspicious jerk watching me. I’ve changed my route in the middle of a run more often than I care to admit because of some guy that frightened me.
And I’m so tired of it, you guys. So tired. How do we make this stop? How do we run safely through our neighborhoods and through our parks?
Maybe it’s me?
Another friend of mine and I were talking about how I’m overly anxious about my safety. And at the time I completely agreed with her. But in the very same conversation she told me how she had a questionable run-in with a person in a car following her and a friend on an early morning run. And then my incident happened this week. So I ask, how am I supposed to feel safe and secure on a run when things like this keep happening around us?
I don’t have a solution. I’m not a doctor, psychologist or police officer. I’m just a runner. A female runner. I’m a female runner who’s sick and tired of being frightened, paranoid, and anxious.
It’s not fair that I’m being robbed of feeling fast, free, and at peace while I’m on a run. Men don’t have to feel that way. Why do I? Because I have a vagina? How is that fair? Feeling safe and secure shouldn’t be gender exclusive. I want to say I just needed to vent. But venting won’t make me feel any safer on my next early morning run.
On second thought, maybe I do have a solution. Maybe alongside science and math skills, we also work hard to “make sure every boy knows it’s wrong to rape.” Because obviously we’re doing something wrong that attacks and murders continue to happen — and as a woman, it is not awesome.
Women: do you ever find yourselves overly anxious on runs?
Men: how do you feel when women have anxiety because of the bad rap you’ve incurred?
Linking up with Amanda for Thinking Out Loud.