In the past few weeks, the universe has been telling me to take up arms. Or at least grow some guns. I’m mixing metaphors here. Let me explain.
The other night I was out in London when a girl rushed up to my friends and I, yelling and crying in coherently. She had bloody knuckles and arms, and we were frankly quite scared of her. We eventually figured out that she’d been thrown from a (moving?) car by a guy she knew. She was now alone in Peckham at 3am, with no battery on her phone. To cut a long story short, we helped her out, got her home safely, and then called an Uber for ourselves.
Surreal end to a night out, or so I thought.
But then when I got home into my apartment building, I found a paramedic and a police officer in the foyer. Strewn around them was gauze, bandages and latex gloves, all covered in blood. They were packing a girl’s clothes into an evidence bag. I had encountered, it was explained, the aftermath of an assault. A girl had been attacked somewhere nearby, and had thankfully made it back to the building where help was called. Whilst they didn’t tell me anything else, it was clear this girl had taken a pretty brutal beating.
I went to bed that night feeling a little uneasy. Two girls in one night? Had that really happened? It wasn’t till the following week however, that I started to get worried. I was out running, and got catcalled twice (in The City, by nice-looking men in suits). Although the full force of City Runners was scattered along our standard Tuesday night loop, I was at that moment alone. I just sped up.
And finally, this week there’s been a sex attacker on the loose in Clapham, my old stomping ground. I used to run there in the dark, alone, all the time. And I felt perfectly safe- Clapham is one of the most gentrified areas in London. So if Clapham’s not safe, I don’t know where is.
It’s really hit me how vulnerable I am as a female, especially a runner. And when you take into account my small build, I could be easily overpowered.I’m going to run more during the day, and find a buddy for evening miles. I may even take self defence classes.
(But really? Should I really have to do this?! I mean seriously?? It’s 2015 for Christ’s sake, we should have sorted this shit out.)
So my question is: what safety precautions do you take as a (female) runner? Or just in general, now the nights are drawing in?
I’d really appreciate your thoughts! It’s an entirely un-fun issue to discuss, but as a female runner, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
Lots of love,