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I am running with the gang – the rest of my university’s women’s cross-country running team. We’re warming up, heading along a downtown street toward the track for our workout. We pass a group of boys who look like fellow students. No one in our group acknowledges them.
They would have been just a few random strangers among the hundreds I pass every day, except then I hear some noise – garbled talking that I can’t make out, and what might have been a whistle.
And then I can make it out, can tell exactly what it is, and I’m furious but we’re past them and it’s too late to say anything without getting left behind.
I resign myself to doing nothing and moving on. But these guys aren’t done yet. The vocal one and his “pack” follow us around the corner, and I hear him shout “can I get a number ladies?”
Because clearly those of us on the VARSITY WOMEN’S CROSS-COUNTRY RUNNING TEAM have NOTHING better to do than stop to exchange contact info with some stranger in the middle of our workout. Clearly.
I keep running, afraid of what might happen if I stop – for whatever reason. And I don’t yell back, unwilling to start something and involve the whole team. But I refuse to roll over completely. Without even looking back, I raise my hand high and I give him the finger.
I don’t know if he sees, or knows what I’m trying to convey, but I feel better after taking some action. I doubt I changed anything today, but it’s not about that – it’s about there being a record of someone having said: this is not okay.
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