A third of women admit they are considering giving up running because of personal safety fears and we want to do something about it...
Today the #WeWill Collective, including This Mum Runs and Women’s Running, is launching a campaign to raise awareness of the sexual harassment of women runners. #WEWILL is a campaign focused on the positive actions men and women can take to enable women to run free from fear, to be safe, and to feel safe in every part of their lives.
A nationwide survey conducted by Women’s Running found that 69% of women do not feel safe or adjust their behaviours to feel safe when they run, 79% have been shouted at while running and 31% have thought about stopping running because of safety concerns. Most harassments go unreported. Women don’t know they can report it, don’t think they will be taken seriously, and often aren’t. It’s a woman’s lived experience.
Women have the right to run free from fear. In the days following the murder of Sarah Everard, and reflecting on the deaths of Blessing Olusegun, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, as well as the cry of help from our run communities, it became abundantly clear to us that we have all been changing our running (& walking) behaviours out of fear our whole lives. Many women have told us that it’s behaviour so ingrained that they’re not even consciously aware of it. The men in our lives were also shocked, “we had no idea” was a common response.
We are inspired by women who share their experiences with men, not just live with them. We are inspired by men who are inspired to listen to women’s lived experience and question their actions (and those of others) and address those behaviours. This isn’t about campaigning for quick fixes, #WEWILL is a campaign to force out a systemic culture of female oppression. And let’s not forget how much more difficult it is to be heard as a BAME woman in these cases, either – we want this campaign to represent ALL women.
Abuse of women by men isn’t just a woman’s problem. This is everyone’s problem – man, woman and child – this is time for us to come together to make collective change. #WEWILL will focus on changing behaviour and attitudes towards women and initially promote & support positive actions that men and women can both take, via pledges, to add up to widespread societal and cultural change. We can’t do this by ourselves.
We want women and men to join us by pledging the change that you are going to make. Make your pledge by posting to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter using the #WEWILL – if you need help or inspiration go to our website for ideas and sign up too. Follow the campaign on the website and on Instagram and DM us if you want to get involved and partner with us to make a difference.
We don’t want women to have to change their own behaviours out of fear, or giving up running – and we won’t give up until this change happens. Together we can help make women feel safer on our streets.
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