“Female Jogger Attacked”
This is an all-too familiar headline in the news, with reports coming in from all over the nation about women who are just trying to get some exercise in (mostly) the warmer weather. As we start to shift more and more of our activities to the outdoors in the coming months, unfortunately, we’ve also got to go on “Amber” alert, which I think is so sad. There’s something very freeing about not having to pile on all those layers because of the cold, just to go about one’s daily business, and something even more liberating about donning a pair of shorts and running shoes, waking up before most of the city does so you can stretch your legs and clear your head.
But this also means that we’ve got to be even more aware of those ill individuals out there who would take advantage of us as women moving around solo in the city. Some say that wearing headphones is not a great idea, because your awareness is severely diminished, and that jogging or exercising in the park is safer with a partner, and that avoiding the park at certain very early or late hours is wise. I agree with these “preventative” techniques, but also think that they are not always possible, desirable or practical. The other day, I was sitting on a bench with a male friend in Bronx Park, which if you haven’t been, is a beautiful place. We chatted and ate our lunch, watching a few solo male joggers go by. And we solemnly agreed that it was extremely unfortunate, but there would be few women joggers out, at any time, in that park, because of the high degree of risk.
Here it was a gorgeous, sunny day, not too hot, and literally half the population would not feel safe there. It made me realize with a start that I in fact would probably not be sitting there, had it not been for the companionship of my male friend. Talk about being in hidden bondage. My ardent wish for the near future would be to TAKE BACK OUR PARKS, in a similar way that we’ve taken back the night. Only with the vocal and persistent action of reclaiming public spaces can we really feel and actually BE safe. But until we can make it happen, be safe out there.