Like many of the women who have shared their stories, I am a runner. Last February, I was out for a run in the middle of the afternoon, bundled up against the cold. As I waited to cross a busy street, I noticed a man sitting in his car at the stop sign opposite me, staring. He didn’t turn when he had the opportunity to turn. Instead he waited. When I crossed the street, running towards him, I noticed his window was down despite the cold. As I ran past, he yelled something, but I couldn’t quite make it out and felt it was best to keep going.
Five minutes later, his car showed up behind me, window down. This time, I heard him. “Do you want to make some money fast?” Given his expression, this could only mean one thing: sex for money. I said no and kept running, stopping briefly to try to get his license plate.
I called campus security when I got home, which eventually led to a police investigation and a court trial (acquitted).
I was angry that this man had made me feel unsafe doing something I loved, and upset that I was unable to muster a more vindicating response. Perhaps most surprising of all was the reaction of my boyfriend at the time. Because he didn’t see the situation as presenting any real potential for danger (middle of the afternoon, residential area), he didn’t understand why it had upset me so much. This, coming from an educated, warm, generally understanding man. It made me fear that the disconnect between men’s actions and their effect on women may be greater than I had ever realized.
Location: College town in western VirginiaShare on Facebook