It’s a conversation we really shouldn’t have to have.
For the thousands of people who shared their stories and advice on Twitter, though, the need for more awareness around this issue is abundantly clear.
One of my mom groups has a thread that is just women listing and recommending which kind of protection they take when them when they go out running (Ie. pepper spray, alarm necklaces, whistles, etc) in case you wondered what being a woman is like— Amanda Deibert 🏳️🌈 (@amandadeibert) May 29, 2019
She wrote: “One of my mom [sic] groups has a thread that is just women listing and recommending which kind of protection they take when them when they go out running (Ie. pepper spray, alarm necklaces, whistles, etc) in case you wondered what being a woman is like.”
Within minutes, hundreds of men and women were sharing their experiences.
One man wrote: “I think about this a lot when I run (very early mornings when it’s dark) and encounter solo female runners, particularly if I find myself behind the other runner.”
“I always change route or cross the road to remove the sense of threat that I know my presence creates.”
A lot of women found that having a medium-sized dog with them when they were running helped to ward off harassment.
My women running friends also use: A running partner also, a dog - medium size - Its surprising how quickly a dog makes people back off, especially when they are on alert from running— Daniel Maycock (@danielmaycock) May 29, 2019
“A dog - medium size - Its surprising how quickly a dog makes people back off, especially when they are on alert from running.”
Women quickly jumped in to agree with this. One woman wrote: “For weeks there was a construction team doing work on my run route. When I ran alone I'd get all the usual comments/shouts/whistles/jeers.”
“When I took my (big-ish) dog with me, I had nothing bar the occasional respectful comment about how cute my dog is.”
The woman also commented that it was “depressing” that the men had more respect for her dog than her.
Many women also suggested that setting up a group chat to alert your friends when you’re going and when you return is a good idea.
A number of male users mentioned that it wasn’t just women who had to be careful when running alone.
One wrote: “LMAO, you know it’s the same with men right?”
To which Amanda replied: “Is it? Men, when you run do you take pepper spray? Do you get cat called? Are you worried about being raped so you don’t listen to music? Legit question.”
Whatever the outcome, it has opened up a much needed, bigger discussion about how women feel when out running.