I used to walk the suburban neighborhood I grew up in for exercise almost daily. During my treks I was approached by several young men who wanted to “share” their grossly inappropriate opinion of what I was wearing or how I looked. I also had at least one vehicle-follow (in the middle of the day). He stopped his car and yelled out at me. I didn’t engage; I turned and started going the other way. This was before cell phones. I got to the point where I couldn’t enjoy the walks — they gave me anxiety because of how much defensive mental armor I had to apply before leaving the house. While I don’t get this at the gym in the same way, I shouldn’t have to PAY a fortune just so I can walk or run s-a-f-e-l-y. I am part of a run/walk group that meets up a couple times of week during the bulk of the year, but even then some of us have been ogled, cat-called, or had some blatant derogatory noise or statement made in our direction that ruins the experience. To be clear, I don’t hate men or a healthy level of attention — but guys, lets me clear: if a woman is walking/running with headphones on with no makeup and not making a point to engage in idle chitchat she’s not a bitch for ignoring you. She’s not out to entertain or stroke your ego. She’s out for a run or walk or to decompress. It gets really old [being harassed].

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Technophobe Who Codes | UX Generalist | Freelance Writer | Egalitarian-Feminist | True-Crime/Forensics Enthusiast

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