I felt good, that is, until a man on a bicycle approached from behind and started trailing me. He attempted to start a conversation with me multiple times, and despite my silence or curt, one-word responses, he persisted. He wanted to know where I was going, where I had come from, where I lived, whether I had a boyfriend, and what I was doing later that day. It was creepy AF — and even if I wasn’t being followed while running alone, his persistent questioning would have creeped me out.
Cara Harbstreet (She/Her)
See, how is it (some) men fail to realize you are approaching a complete stranger. This woman does not know you. You might be a great guy, but you are approaching her as she is going about her shopping or her workout. She is in public. Doesn’t mean she is obligated to stop and chat with you because you are interested. Also, you are asking her personal questions that are none of your business. “Where are you going, where do you live…?” Really, you think those are normal, safe questions to ask? They are creepy AF. But when she dares to tell you she isn’t interested and wants to go about her business, you (the general guy) get upset. Why? Because you didn’t get your way for once? If someone was bothering you and you wanted to be left alone, you have the same right to say, “No, thank you” or “I just want to get my workout in, alone.” And you would expect them to accept your answer and move along.
But women don’t get that “right.” Instead, we’re expected to stop what we’re doing and chit-chat, even when we’re uncomfortable. We do this, at times, in hopes of passively excusing ourselves from the harassment — you know, so it doesn’t escalate into a violent altercation. Ideally, he will just call us a “bitch” and ride off. Yeah, ideally, he’ll call us something horrible and unwarranted because his ego got hurt for 3 seconds and hopefully go away. We, however, are shaken and will reconsider taking that no-longer-relaxing run the next time we lace up our shoes. And that sucks because we shouldn’t have to be afraid to go outside, to take a run or walk. We shouldn’t be told we have to do this in groups. I don’t like to run or walk in a group. Why? Because it isn’t relaxing for me. So why should I have to?