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I used to be really into running but don’t do so as much any more- over the years I have had countless incidents of whistles, shouted comments about my body and yells from cars going past when I’m just trying to exercise.
Anyway one particular incident happened in my small village when I was fifteen, I’m eighteen now.
I had just finished a run and decided to check out the Abbey in my village before heading home- the entrance to which is manned by an older gentleman. As I walked in I called into his little shed if it was okay for me to go in, just in case I needed to pay. He could have just said “yes” from where he was but he walked out, looked me up and down very obviously and commented “looking like that sweetheart, you can go anywhere you want” and stared at my chest openly. I was sweaty, tired and only fifteen years old and was totally shocked and embarrassed- also acutely aware that though I was not isolated (a few steps would bring me back onto the street) I felt very intimidated and threatened. I think it was very clear that I was not even the age of consent, not that it would make it justifiable, whilst he was at least sixty and I didn’t let him away with it. He got introduced to my middle finger and told his comments were not welcome but I was very shaken by it and ran home fast. Think I started running at about thirteen and even then I got toots from cars and yells which unsettled me, especially due to my age and that where I live is mostly country lanes I run down on my own.
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