Community A Male Response to the War on Women

    A Male Response to the War on Women

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    A woman died because she went for a run.

    It’s not right. It’s not fair and we can all help stop it. 

    This hits me viscerally. I feel ashamed to be a man and feel disgusted this kind of story is not all that uncommon. 

    Women deserve to be able to run at any time of the day without the fear of being attacked by a man. They deserve to feel the freedom that most men feel when they run, without harassment and without thoughts about potential threats to their life. 

    How often have most of us guys, slipped on a pair of running shoes and hit the roads, sidewalk or trail without a care in the world, and most certainly most of the time (unless in a dodgy neighbourhood) without a thought for our safety? It’s a bit difficult to think of always being worried for your safety when just out for a run, for no other reason than any stranger—who is a man—could be a potential attacker, or killer. 

    The sickness and the symptoms of the problem are what you see, but the virus, the root of the problem is what needs to be addressed. You can outlaw catcalling and behaviours, that will help but we need to look at why men even think to do this type of behaviour. 

    A woman died because she went for a run, but also because: 

    • We are raising some boys/men without the right respect for women 
    • We are not raising boys to understand what correct behaviour towards women is 
    • We are still encouraging/portraying aggressive behaviour towards women in media and society 
    • We are not making enough effort to emphasize how people, men and women deserve to be treated 

    The world is an unpredictable, often violent place, but we can influence that variable under our control.

    We can shape our children to respect one another and know how to treat people. We should put efforts into awareness and dictate what is against the law, but men, let’s also work towards a place where we never have to have this conversation, and everyone, equally, can just go out for a run. 

    We all seem to get angry when these events happen, but they continue to happen.

    Without change, there is no change. 

    Noel Paine is a long-time runner and racewalker and contributor to iRun magazine. 

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