I am quietly seething.
Actually I'm not being quiet about it at all.
I'm being feisty and ranty about it.
Over the weekend, I discussed my sadness n dismay at the number of women who had replied to the thread on twitter when Kelly Oxford had asked women to tweet about 'their FIRST' experience of being sexually assaulted.
I discussed this with a female friend and we both confess that we had to think long and hard about when our first experience of being sexually assaulted was.
We spoke about the shapes this took, and how, often, it was so blatant, that by the time we had realised and actually acknowledged once the disbelief had gone, (a hand up a skirt or similar), the perpetrator could be invisible in a crowd and onto the next victim.
We spoke about the scale of sexual assault. About where being heckled sits on that scale. About sexist comments.
I have had too many incidents to count.
They vary in severity.
My age has ranged from being under 12 to 35.
But anyway.... that's not why I'm ranting. It is, however, relevant.
The stuff regarding sexual assault is linked to Donald Trump and his hideous comments about 'grabbing women by the pussy' has been far too prevalent this weekend.
I am baffled as to how so many Americans can be so stupid and bigoted.
And then of course there is my mother. The one who failed to protect when I was a child, yet rings me to tell me that I should stop running along the canal because 'a coloured man is attacking women near Rodley'
Apparently I'm not to run as far on as Rodley. Seemingly the attacker doesn't travel.
When I asked what colour he was, she was unable to tell me.
I must assume he has been in the face paint.
Unfortunately (for her), I have my mother my opinion with both barrels.
I told her that she needed to stop reading the Daily Fail given that it reports in such a way to completely dehumanise women.
It also reports in such a way that she thinks it's acceptable to use the word 'coloured' to describe someone.
When I told her I needed to know whether the attacker was of Asian, Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, dual heritage, rather than 'coloured'.
She was at a loss.
I told her that we all had a skin colour so I guess I needed to be careful of every man in public.
I told her about the Nell McAndrew article - and actually, if men were reading that, women out running, are nothing more than moving sexualised objects. Why wouldn't they attack them?
My rant continued that I refuse to be frightened.
I won't ONLY run when it's light.
I CANT run when it's light in winter. Sometimes I'm at work.
And actually, I quite like running at midnight.
Why the hell shouldn't I?
Sometimes it's the only way to shake the day off.
I work shifts.
I SHOULD BE ABLE TO RUN WHERE AND WHEN I WANT.
I take reasonable precautions.
I wear a headlight.
I wear flashing arm bands
I wear a high viz frog.
I wear loud and garish leggings.
I carry a whistle.
I stick to the main roads late at night.
I refuse to be frightened.
I am NOT going to hide from the world.
To an extent, I tell people where I am going, or at least how long I expect to be.
I try check in and out with someone.
But ultimately, I live alone.
And sometimes, people are sleeping. And sometimes I forget.
But I won't stop running because it's suddenly dark.
Or because there is a 'craze' for dressing as a killer clown n scaring women.
I won't stop running because there is a man attacking women on the canal.
Not all men are cockwombles.
Some are. Some aren't.
Some could see a woman running in hot pants n bra n would still know they had no right to assault or abuse her.
Some men see women covered up and take it as a personal challenge.
I hope nothing terrible happens to you or those you love while you're out running.
What with the drivers hating cyclists, that's not safe either..... I should probably go back to drinking and smoking.....