More than we can even list.....
And now, Liza Fletcher.
Yet again, we are writing about it. Yet again, there is victim shaming. Yet again, we are heartbroken, sending prayers, and wondering "Why can't we just go out for a run without fear?"
I hate writing about this but it sits so heavy on my heart, that I'm at a loss of what else to do. This is so messed up and something that affects us all. Women can't go out without being targeted. Why can't we go out in a sports bra? Why can't we go out when it's dark? Why the hell do any of those details matter?!?!
Growing up as a girl I was always hyper-aware that the world wasn't safe. Even though I have been fortunate to live in safe areas, I never take it for granted. I was taught to not park near vans, carry my keys between my knuckles, go to the bathroom in pairs, and basically always assume every stranger wasn't safe. This may sound extreme but in all honesty, after becoming a parent I fully get it. After becoming a runner, it was always at the forefront of my mind and every time I go out I think of the list of runners above and the many more that never make the headlines.
Even now as a runner, I take so many precautions to have the best chances to make it home safe when I know that even doing everything right may not be enough.
I will never get over the stupid questions that people ask when something like this happens and how it always is turned to be the runner's fault. While I believe some of this is a coping mechanism for other to find a "reason" that it happens, it's misguided. To fall into a false sense of safety by saying things like "Well I don't run in a sports bra." or "I always have a safety item." takes away the true root of the issue and can leave us under-protected from the pure fact that we can do everything right and still not be enough.
I don't have the answers to fix it. The only answer I do have is that until the world changes, no one is safe. It's sad to think about but that's the cold hard truth.
I am fully aware that this is not my normal sunshine and rainbows self but all we can do at the moment is give ourselves the tools that hopefully can help defend ourselves. This is not shaming or saying that any runner attacked didn't have/do these things but again, so many are 100% random so maybe, just maybe, one of these can make the difference if you ever HAVE to use it. We shouldn't have to do this but then again, these runners should have made it home as well----NONE of it makes sense.
Run in pairs when you can
Take defense courses/watch videos
Carry a pepper spray, safety ring, alarm, etc
Use a tracking app/location sharing with trusted contacts
Always know the route you are taking and safe paths that you can use in case of emergency
Be aware of your surroundings and trust your gut.
Until we all can run and get home safely we will continue to share, post, and spread whatever we can to help each other.
Be well and run safe my friends.