Exercise and Sexual Harassment: What Female Runners Face

woman running on wooden boardwalkIn a society where fitness is the priority, especially for Millennials, it’s common to see men and women running around exercising. Besides that, some people find running as a means to de-stress and clear their mind.

Despite the health benefits, a survey conducted by Runner’s World revealed that there’s a dark side to the fitness routine: female runners have to deal with the sexual harassment during their run at any time of the day.

Running as a Woman

A survey conducted by Runner’s World revealed alarming statistics on sexual harassment on women who run. It showed that 58% of women under 30 experienced this sort of abuse frequently. The more they encountered such intrusions, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to clear their minds.

Other statistics presented by the study include:

  • 18% have been sexually propositioned
  • 3% have been physically assaulted
  • 30% have been followed by a person

This survey just showed how gendered and widespread harassment is. While there is no easy solution for this, it’s important to spread awareness of this harsh reality so that there is somewhere to start in terms of looking for a resolution.

Protection from Attackers

There are various ways of protecting yourself from attackers. Many companies that sell self-defense products like offer an extensive line of products for protection. These include pepper spray, stun guns, and personal alarms.

Going Beyond Harassment

In August 2016, 27-year-old Vanessa Marcotte was murdered while out for a run in rural Princeton. Her body was found half a mile away from her mother’s home in Central Massachusetts. Before this, crimes in the state ranged from cat-calling to groping to rape.

Nobody has to be hypervigilant and afraid when they exercise, but unfortunately, sexual offenders instill fear in every female runner. It can go from simply whistling at you or calling you pretty to outright following you in their car or even flashing you from a distance.

While not all women deal with the intrusive and unwanted attention every time they go out for a run, they should still be aware of their surroundings. Run with a partner or if you’re iffy about having a companion exercise with you, carry something to defend yourself with at all times.