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Women Runners Face Harassment and Assault

Runner's World recently conducted a survey that revealed 84% of women experienced some form of harassment while running that made them feel unsafe. 

The perpetrators, always male, harass women with catcalls, lewd comments, following them, flashing and groping them as they run. The trauma from these experiences take on toll on the mental and emotional health of many female runners.

According to a study by Stop Street Harassment, 30% of women reported anxiety and depression, while 23% revealed they changed their routine.

Dr. Joan Cook, associate professor of psychiatry at Yale’s School of Medicine explained to Runner’s World why street harassment is often overlooked, saying, “People minimize street harassment because they don’t see it as sexual harassment since it’s not rape or battery.”

The Stop Street Harassment study also found 67% of women were afraid of being assaulted while running, while 16% felt afraid to the point of fearing for their lives.

In an effort to confront and tackle street harassment, Runner’s World and Women’s Health partnered with Hoka One One and Garmin to create The Runner’s Alliance. The initiative offers real-time solutions to reduce street harassment and improve the safety of public spaces for runners.

The Realist Woman's take:

The numbers on street harassment in this story is exactly what keeps women from working out in public spaces. The mental gymnastics a woman goes through when shes running, jogging or even walking is absolutely draining. Is she being paranoid that someone is following her? Should she look back, or would that be rude? Should she change her routine? A woman literally can't trust anyone that comes into her space.

When we read or hear about women being attacked or even killed on a jog or run, it's easy to feel helpless. But it's encouraging to know that Runner's World has partnered with others to come together to confront street harassment. Women deserve to feel safe in public spaces.