I want to introduce you to a RL friend of mine, she wishes to remain anonymous but I think her story is very important one and I hope that as you read her story you will realise why I’ve changed my general transparency rules about it. I really hope that you will give you her a warm welcome.
It’s been difficult to write this post, I’ve struggled over it a number of times and I’m actually torn between the message I’m trying to send here. I guess there are two, a little contradictory, but I do believe they can work side by side. The day I went for a run wasn’t any different from any other day, I’m guessing it is the same for runners everywhere, I strapped on my Polar, laced up my shoes, appreciated the warmth outside and set off on the running trail that I had run countless times before. I am sure you can imagine yourself in a similar situation if you’ve ever run or walked outside.
I love being outside. I love running outside, I’m faster, more dedicated and more focussed there. The last thing I did before I set off was set my ipod up, popping my ear buds in I set off running. I think I had covered around 2km when I felt my ankle go from under me and my whole body tumbled down a verge at the side of the track I was running on. When I came to a stop 3/4 of the way down the bank I barely knew what had happened. Once I realised that I had gone down the bank I felt everything and pushed on myself and checked I was ok, thankfully I quickly realised that besides the odd cut from under growth I was all in one piece. I located my ipod still attached to me and had it in my hand. I was kind of aware that someone had made their way down the bank to help me which I was grateful for as I was shaken and not sure if I could stand again. So I looked up at the other runner standing above me and I put my hand up to get some help standing. I don’t remember what I said, probably thank you. Unfortunately that was to be a misjudgment. When I was half way to pulling myself up he dropped me.
The detail of what happened next is unimportant, it’s not something that I will ever share I expect, but as I was raped I didn’t feel anything really. I was completely confused as what was happening to me and all I could do was look to one side and whisper my objections as no real noise would come out. I was told to wait where I was and he left me. I didn’t stay. I ran as fast as I could manage back to my car. Then to the hospital. Then the police.
There are so many things I could say and my heart is absolutely in two on the subject. I am not, and will never be a victim. If I accept that status than this man has one. Why should I allow him to be more of my life than those moments he took from me? I’ve not buried it, I’ve talked and talked, I’m dealing with it don’t worry, but I refuse to allow him more of my life than he took. When I first got home from the hospital I thought about what to do, I started looking at Rape Crisis websites, I stumbled across this one notever.com and it totally summed up how I felt. After the attack I obviously thought of a few things, I had music in my ears, I was alone, I was off road in a not very populated area. I guess looking back I didn’t follow basic “safety” rules, however I had done it a million times before. I was angry at my complacency, then I started to feel angry. Why shouldn’t I run where I want to and how I want to?
So I contacted Becks at Weight Wars and we talked and talked, debated, disagreed even and then she sent me this. In line with the “this is not an invitation” campaigns she sent me this and it was perfect.
One this I really thought was that I am just a girl. A runner. No matter what I had done that day there was a vital part of the puzzle that I couldn’t have controlled. I could have run elsewhere, taken my music out, not had a flashy Polar on my wrist (which he stole), but I never could have controlled his choice to rape me. I am not responsible.
What did occur to me after the fact however was that had the situation of been worse, and it could have been, there was nothing on me that would identify me or attract attention if I couldn’t have walked away. I was out of site of the main trail so I wouldn’t have been easy to find.
This is why I’m telling you my story. Someone who is raped could not have prevented it, but what they can do is be found, get help quickly and with as little effort as possible. It’s important that we are aware of our surroundings but that’s just so we aren’t caught on the back foot. This may end up being controversial but I don’t think I could have prevented my rape, and more importantly I don’t think focussing on the person who has been assaulted is helpful. One person can prevent rape and that is the rapist.
This is where Weight Wars has done some work so I’ll hand back to your regular blogger…Thank you for reading.
I really hope that like me you can see what an important message that she is sending and I want to clarify too. I agree whole heartedly with everything that she has said. I always invite debate at Weight Wars and that is fine, please try and remember that you are talking to a person.
So that work I was talking about, was talking to a few wonderful people out there in the world and we have a few things that are great for safety should you have an accident, or find yourself unable to tell people who you are or important medical details.
The first fabulous supporters are Safe Girl. Safe Girl are providers of safety equipment which is functional but also attractive. They offer a number of products for sporty types specifically as well. They have some great products for students, kids, travel and women and all at a reasonable price they have kindly agreed to give a 10% discount on all products for my lovely readers just enter the code weightwars and I really hope that you can see something that will give you an extra gadget to get out and run with! Alarms can be a great way to get attention.
The other fabulous people who want to help keep you safe are Sweatshop. I’ve been a massive fan of their store for a long time and they sell an amazing wrist band called a Cram Alert Band. The Cram-Alert Wristband provides emergency ID; an essential piece of kit for all runners. Wearing a registered Cram-Alert Wristband enables your medical information to become known and your next of kin informed in the event of an emergency. Sweatshop have offered you lovely people a 15% discount all you have to do is enter the code WRSFT at the checkout. The code is valid while they still have stock or 30/04/2013.
Sweatshop also said that running as a group can be a great way to make friends and stay safe too, they provide free running groups out of their stores and you can find your local group here.
Now I have to ask a favour of you. Share this story. Share it with your community, fellow runners and people you love. Share my friends strength, and share your own stories and your opinions. Most of all keep running for her.