As I was out running the other night, it had been the first time hitting the pave in months due to an injury. It was during a heat wave so I opted to go after dark to try and stay cool. As I was running I became very aware of how dark it was and I started to feel unsafe. I lowered my music, made sure my family knew my route, and even changed my planned route to ensure I had more street lights. I noticed a fellow male runner opposite of me on the street. What I realized hit me hard and I have not been able to stop thinking about it ever since. What I noticed was that he looked free- free of worry- like he was flying. I immediately thought about what I must look like running in fear looking scared ot be alone. I became angry.... angry with myself for worrying about my safety, angry that I had to keep my music low to listen for footsteps and angry that I had changed my route. I wondered- Am I feeling unsafe because of the terrible stories I have heard from our clients at the Centre? Or, was it because simply I am a woman and that we are made to feel like the only one's responsible for our safety. Just one more area in our lives where we have to accomdate a society that perpetruates such behavior and allows victim blaming. I cried the rest of my run home.
I am here to say, that's it, I am done. Done with being afraid, done with victim blaming. I checked online and was almost not even surprised to see the thousands of other female walkers and runners that go through the same internal dialogue- thousands of us that do not feel safe or free to walk and run for our mental heatlh. So I decided that SILENCE was in and of itself an issue. I am here to no longer be silent and to ask you all, both men and women, to join me to fight for women to be able to run/walk free at night.
The pandemic has been hard on our mental health, and now more than ever we need to feel safe in taking time for our mental health by running and walking outdoors and we should be able to do so alone if we chose. We not only need to feel free but we need help and support and free counselling to deal with the added stress of the pandemic on our lives.
So I hope you will join me not only to help our charity meet the demand for immediate mental and support services but also your participation will signify, not only to me, but to thousands of other women that you want to fight for women to run at night.
Please consider registering and donating to help me reach both my goal to break the silence and my fundraising goal to help us continue this critical work. Together, we're going to fight2run@night