Sorry for the long post guys, but I really want to get this out there so that we can all enjoy the right to be active out doors and be safe!
This afternoon was an experience that I never want anyone to have to go through.
So please feel free to share. I know this is just another internet story from a girl you don’t know, but its real.
Ive posted about this on my person Facebook as I have a lot of girlfriends that run the same route alone, as it is a seemingly safe and well off, family orientated area. I have received a lot of shock comments as I’m not just another girl not he news, I’m their friend and they all know me personally.
I was running, in broad daylight and I was approached by a man who was seemingly another runner. He started running with me and asking me general questions about how long i had been running, if i was carrying my phone with me or just had my iPod for music, if i was a fit and fast runner and if I live far from the running track.
I wasn’t giving any personal info away about wear i lived or anything, but the other questions I answered in the midst of general convocation that was weird because I was clearly trying to exercise and to be honest I think thats a strange time to approach someone for a chat.
Sadly i didn’t have my iphone with me (it was flat) and was listening to my iPod.
I have run that running track 1-2 time a week for about a year.
It was broad day light.
There were other people around.
everything was like it had always been.
this man was slowly trying to sus out my fitness levels, if I knew anyone close by, and if i had my phone on me to call for help.
as we ran awkwardly beside each other he started to walk and breath really heavily (like he as having an asthma attack) so i stopped with him and asked if he was ok, he asked if i could walk with him for a minute or two because he felt really ill, I said yes.
we walked and didn’t really talk much, as soon as he stopped breathing like he was about to die and could talk to me again, i knew he was ok, told him to take it easy and that i was going to continue my run without him.
he said ok, nice to meet you and that was that.
so I ran down the path (away form the main road) and down to the park where my car was parked.
it was raining where I live today so there wasnt anyone in the park as its normally really busy with families and other runners/walkers.
as soon as i was about half way across the park, over my music I heard someone yelling ‘excuse me!? excuse me!?’ and i felt a hand brush past my ass for what I then realised was the 4th time as this man had passed it off as an accidental bump while we were walking and he was having this ‘asthma attack’.
So I turned around and the same man that had approached me moments before was now standing about 3cm away from my face. I ripped out my ear phones and stepped back to gain some personal space.
I asked him what was wrong and said “can I help you?’ because by this stage i was a little creeped out.
he started to have another ‘asthma attack’ that he recovered from remarkably quickly ( i assume he used this technique so I would let my guard down and feel sorry for him) he then stop up looked me in the eye as started asking if he could preform sexual actions to me.
I immediately stepped back and said, no thank you, thats not appropriate.
I continued to step back away from him in the direction of my car, not once breaking eye contact with him.
I was ready to run, my heart was pumping and the adrenaline was kicking in.
he continued to ask and then proceeded to say ‘I’m begging for you, ill get on the ground and beg’
Then instead of asking if he could have me, he stated to say “I’m going to have you” (but in more obscene language) I said, please don’t talk to me that way, I don’t feel confutable with this. NO, please leave me alone now.
he started trying to guilt me into it…saying he had never had a girlfriend before and was it because he was ugly that i didn’t want him?
I replied to him, there is nothing wrong with the way you look, i just don’t feel confutable with this because i don’t know you, so I’m going to leave now… (this all happened so fast, but me explaining it makes it seem like a full on conversation)
he then jumped at me, and started to run at me.
I turned around and ran, I don’t think I’ve ever run so fast in my entire life, I was running towards the main road instead of my car because even though my car was closer, it was hidden by trees and a public bathroom block well out of the public eye.
I saw two boys leaving a near by basketball court and yelled ‘THEYRE MY FRIENDS! IM RUNNING TO MY FRIENDS”
the man stopped where he was and i continued running to these basket ball boys that were just leaving. (thank god I caught them when i did, of who knows what might have happened)
by this point I was in tears and panicking, i run to the boys and said something along the lines of ‘please can i walk with you! please i need to walk with you’ they looked confused (and i don’t blame them, they had no idea what was happening) they walked with me anyway, i finally was able to say, please can you walk with me too my car just over there as i have been assaulted and followed by that man (who was still standing where he stopped running) they said sure, and still confused walked me to my car and wished me the best. Im so thankful for those boys. they had no idea what was going on besides a distraught girl running at full speed to them in a park asking to be walked to her car, obviously i needed help, and they helped in the only way they could, without getting too far involved in something that clearly you wouldn’t want to be involved in.
the assaulter then started running at my car (he was approx. 300 metres away), I fumbled a bit because I was shaking and still in shock, i got my keys in and drove off!
I called my dad on hands free and completely broke down, i didn’t want to stop my car but i was having a major panic attack. so i kept driving with my dad calming me.
I reported this to the police as soon as i got home and calmed down, but by this point it was a hour later.
WHATS THE POINT OF THIS SHARE?
if you took the time to read this, thank you, I’m not looking for sympathy, i pity the man that did this, he obviously has issues and no love in his life and that is sad, but you cannot treat girls, or any human being for that matter with that little respect. I just want to spread the word and bring attention to this issue.
Please if you know anyone that runs alone, just warn them that people like this are out there and it can happen in broad day light in the public eye. you don’t have to be alone.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU ARE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION
- keep your eyes on the attacker, you want to see their every move, so unless you’re sprinting away, don’t turn your back.
-be assertive, but don’t be mean. ( i told the man no, that i wasn’t comfortable but i was never mean to him, even though i could have been and wanted to be, i remained as calm as i could because I didn’t want to make him angry.)
-if there are any large groups around, draw attention to yourself, run to a large group if you can, if you don’t feel like a confident runner, YELL, SCREAM FOR HELP, make a scene, get attention so that someone will come and help you or the attacker will be scared off.
-finally as SOON as you get the chance, call the police STRAIGHT AWAY. (this is the mistake i made, I called my dad first and didnt call the police until i got home. I was later told by police that if i called straight away they could have sent out an alert and cars to the scene immediately.)
- if you can’t get away, make sure you know some basic self defence.
Im not a violent person but if it comes to self defence then it is nessicary, so as morbid as this may sound, at the end of the day its protecting you.
poke and scratch the eyes
-poke pressure points behind the ear lobes. (be familiar with all the bodies pressure points so you can target them and push them inward as hard as you can!)
SAFE RUNNING ESSENTIALS
-run with a buddy
-run during the day and in a public place (although that didn’t stop this guy)
-never have your music up too loud, be aware of who is around you
-ALWAYS carry your phone with you (this was one of the few times i ran without my phone as it was dead)
- stick to main roads
-always tell someone where you are going and an estimated time on when you will be home.
im not looking for sympathy, because at the end of the day Im fine and escaped only to be a little shaken up.
I don’t mean to scare anyone
but this is a sad reality of our world.
Running/walking/being outside is a right that everyone should have and be able to enjoy while feeling safe and without fear for safety. But people like this unfortunately exist. all we can do is stay safe, run in groups, stay fit and healthy, be aware, able to self defend and spread the word so that it minimised the risk of anything like this or worse happening to anyone.
Again Sorry for the long post guys, but I really want to get this out there so that we can all enjoy the right to be active out doors and be safe!
Keep your wits about you guys! xxxxx