Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Running Safety for Women... And Men

In a discussion in a running group today, the topic turned to the safety of female runners.  Of course, someone chimed in with a totally useful and unique comment: "Here's a tip: Men stop harassing women.".

Brilliance.  Why hasn't anyone else ever thought of that?

But let's get serious.

Scolding all men (eg "Men stop harassing women") is not a solution to the problem of harassment (or of assault, or bias).

Men who harass/assault women are a small fraction of the male population, and the rest of us "men" do our damnedest to suppress them.

The police officers who arrest the worst of them; the majority of prosecutors, judges, and other justice officials who put them in jail; and the jailers who keep them there -- they are overwhelmingly MEN.

Even before an arrest happens,  when citizens stop a criminal by tackling them or otherwise restraining them, those citizens are almost always MEN.

So let's give "men" some credit:

The vast majority of men love women, and love their wives, daughters, girlfriends, and friends, and will never hurt any of them much less a stranger.

The best way to make women's outdoor activities like running safer is to acknowledge that safety is partnership that requires both men and women to look out for one another. A lot of us guys on the trail are doing our best to do just that -- without your admonishment.

I have a personal story that illustrates the point.

A few years ago, a very frightened elderly woman who had passed me on her bicycle a few minutes prior came back down the trail towards me, and stopped to ask if she could drop in behind me and follow because there was a suspicious-acting man on the trail ahead.  I was running armed just for reasons like him.  I had seen him earlier that day myself and thought he looked like trouble.

So of course I agreed and told her to tuck in behind me and to one side me until we passed him.  I was careful to keep my body between him and her.  Thankfully nothing happened, and she went safely on her way after we were out of sight.

The point is, most men do care.  Most of us will do our damnedest to help when needed.

In the meantime, don't be afraid to run armed, regardless of whether you're a man or a woman. Many runners do it because they also run in areas where help may be too far away when it's needed, either for help from a human predator or from a big cat or someone's vicious dog.

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Written by Marc Montoni <AMCAmbassador@gmail.com>, October, 2019.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

For more information about the Radical Caucus, see www.LPRadicalCaucus.org or see the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/2497146127/  .

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