Not Ever

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. 

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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. 

10 thoughts on “Not Ever

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. I often run alone – my schedule and my husbands do not mesh, and he runs faster than me so we rarely run together. I often listen to my iPod when I run too (although I leave one earbud out to listen for traffic – safer, but not by much). The one thing I do normally wear is my Road ID bracelet, which has all my ID and emergency contact info on it. Not that any of that would have mattered in this situation.

    We have the right to run, and to not be afraid. Where we want. When we want. And to be safe.

  2. I do not want to say “I feel sorry for you” but I do wish you all the strength in the World in coming to terms with what has happened to you, anon. I started running at the begining of this year, partly because I wanted to be fitter but also because I wanted to find something to help me deal with my mental illness. I really do believe that running has been a medicine for me, it is free and it releases chemicals that no synthetic drug could. I believe I have the right to run where I like, although I stick to main routes and populated areas. There is always this element of fear about exactly this type of attack, though. Why is that? Why do I allow myself to be scared before anything has ever happened to me? It is not as common as scare mongerers would have you believe, but yet we are told there are bad people waiting round every corner, just laying in wait for you to run or walk past just so that they can carry out their depraved urges. Nonsense isn’t it? I believe in taking precautions, I use my iPhone as my music so that I can call someone if I need to, I stick to well lit and populated areas, I run in daylight on my own and when it gets darker I will be running with my running partner again. However, I don’t think anyone has the right to dictate where you go or how you go about it. If we lived our lives in fear of the uncertain, what would we ever achieve?

    • Thank you for sharing this amazing woman’s story. It has really made me think. I always run with my iPod on. The music gives me motivation to keep going. If I listen to the music and not my brain complaining because it’s usually my brain complaining it hurts and it’s too much effort not my body then I go further. But I’ve never thought about the potential danger of doing that. I usually have my iPod up quite high as well. Next time I go for a run I will be turning it down a notch so I am more aware of who is around me. I tend to go for a run round the streets near my house, so I am in plain view but sometimes I do go by the beck near my house, there are often dog walkers here but not always, there’s a woodland which is lovely to run through but also could be dangerous if someone were to creep up on me. Thank you for sharing your story. It may make me make some changes. And I hope your experience does not stop you running. Don’t you ever let anyone get you down and stop your achieving your goals.

  3. I think you are very brave to share your story and I think you should be very proud of yourself that you are in a place of knowing it was not your fault. The circumstances of rape does not make them any less or more a violation and an unspeakable act. When I run or even walk the dogs I am constantly looking around and I always feel nervous, even in broad daylight. I honestly do not know if it ever passes. I have read many stories like yours and you are not alone by any stretch of the imagination. I don’t know if you are running again, but I hope you get there and know that you are amazing. Your story is a reminder to be vigilant and of the strength women have.

  4. Thank you for sharing your story. I know that by you sharing this story I will be more aware of my surroundings and be proactive in making sure I am safe. Although feeling safe and being safe are two different concepts. You are a strong woman & I admire that in you.

    Thank you to Rebecca for using your blog to raise awareness. I will definitely be sharing it.

  5. Thank you for sharing this (both of you). It makes me sad to think that someone would blame the person raped – no matter what the circumstance – but I know it happens.

    I’m touched by your RL friend’s response. It makes me conscious of how much I like to play the ‘victim’ when I have no real reason to do so. If she can be strong and move on, I can too.

    Thanks again for sharing this post!

  6. This blog has come at a time when I have been looking at my running route (along a quiet canal tow path next to a train track) I have thought to myself twice recently – ‘im not too sure how safe this is..’ I think its time to change my route to somewhere a bit more open.. Thank you for sharing your story, stay strong and keep on keeping on x

  7. i was just contemplating getting back into walking. i forget we have a great neighborhood to walk in because it’s all residential, which makes it safe from traffic. however, reading this reminded me that it can also be dangerous in that seclusion. i don’t know my neighbors here, let alone anyone who lives in the numerous houses/apartments down our road :-/ i’ll definitely be looking into the sites you mentioned. thanks so much to your friend for sharing her story and for your help in increasing safety awareness *hugs*

  8. Wow. RL is an amazing person with a fantastic perspective. I run at the crack of dawn (obviously, in the dark), I rarely have company, but I don’t leave my neighborhood alone. I took a self defense class because I’m always alone out in the dark. In the class, it was drilled into all of our heads that nothing WE do is asking for someone to assault us.
    Thank you for sharing your story.

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