[Editor’s Note: While most stories on this blog are from women, occasionally I post ones from men. One of my high school cross country and track teammates – who is a big supporter of my street harassment work – sent me this story via email this week and he gave me permission to post it. No one should have to be subjected to or have to put up with unwanted sexualized comments and harassment from strangers!]
I was running in my neighborhood today around 5:30; I got stuck at a stop light for about 30 seconds and there was an old lady with what appeared to be her daughter at the light. As I was approaching the light, I hear her say: “Raise those legs soldier.” Then I stop at the light and try to move as far away from her as possible at the corner, that’s when she says, “You have sexy legs. those are wonderful thighs.” As soon as the light turns, I take off. On my way home, she is about a block from where I saw her, just sitting blocking the entire sidewalk. I run into the street about 200 feet before her. As I pass, once again “Lift those legs soldier. what sexy legs you have.”
I felt uncomfortable; as I always do when I get harassed while running. I’ve had whistles from guys and girls–typically the guys are latino construction workers in their cars and the girls are high school age in their cars–I assume most of the whistling is a mocking whistle and never appreciate it.
When I was stopped at the light, I tried to avoid eye-contact and keep some distance. Just thinking in my mind when is this light going to turn. On the way back, I was frustrated to see her again–as soon as I saw her from over 100 yards away I was already dreading running by her again.
In the past I have changed my running habits to try to avoid this as much as possible and even sometimes discouraged from running at all. This sucks that this was on one of my major running loops–from new apartment there isn’t too much to change; I already modified the course to avoid the liquor store and two medicinal marijuana dispensaries where the homeless have harassed me.
Location: West Los Angeles, CA