How to prevent sexual assault

I started training for another marathon, as an action item to get out of my Post-Gina Blues.  If you’re as lazy as me, you have no desire to click over to that post so I’ll help you out.  I thought it would help me get over my blues by:

  1. Helping me get out and see Bangalore, maybe even meet new people
  2. Give me something to do in India besides work
  3. Help reduce feelings of limitation/fear with being an American woman in India
  4. Will help me get in shape (energy, endorphins, etc.)
  5. Get focus off of going home 9/16 and onto something productive with shorter/interim milestones.

I’ll start with the positives, cause I’m a positive person (lol wut?).  Positives would be #s 2 and 4.  It does give me something to do in India besides work, like get up early.  Also, it has helped me get into shape.  Or I mean it probably has – it’s been a month and I haven’t seen any results but I’m sure I’m just retaining water, right? RIGHT?

The negatives would be #s 1, 3, and 5.

1.  Seeing Bangalore, meeting new people – The sidewalks here are shit.  I cannot simply “Run Bangalore” like a Nike billboard would have me believe, which means I’ve seen Cubbon Park.  That’s not fully negative though – I wouldn’t have spent time in Cubbon Park if not for my training.  No. 1 is negative cause… I’ve met people.  Not girls my age with similar interests.  No, I’ve instead met practically every middle-aged married dude that goest to the park.  I can see why, I really sex it up when I’m heading out for a run (that’s cow sarcasm, Michael).

First it was innocent, people would run past me and yell, “Good running!” and I thought, damn that’s nice.  Then your neighborhood stalker Javad found me.  General progression:

First meeting: Javad pulls classic move where he speeds up to pass me, then can’t keep up and falls behind.  Speeds up to pass me, then gets tired and falls behind.  I’m used to this at home – a lot of dudes don’t like the ego blow of being passed by a 5’2″ girl and decide to show ’em who’s boss, without knowing that I’ve ran multiple marathons and that this is my easy workout.  I think nothing of it.  Toward the end of my run he starts running alongside me, which is weird.  I contemplate pretending to tie my shoe to get away from him but decide to stick out the awkwardness since I only have a few laps left.  Not choosing to fake a cramp or untied shoe is my greatest regret from the month of May.  He finished out my 3 remaining laps with me, telling me that he’s married and has two kids.  Seemed harmless, we exchanged names.

Second meeting: He asks whether I stay alone or with roommates.  I say with roommates.  I find out that he owns a mint factory.  He promises to give me some samples.  I say OK.  He only runs with me for a few laps before presumably finishing his workout.  I figure he must just be friendly, and besides – I don’t want to be rude.  People hate Americans enough as it is.

Third meeting: He asks whether I stay alone or with roommates.  Annoyed, I say with roommates and think it’s weird that he is asking that question again.  If he’s trying to fill the silence, I wish he wouldn’t cause talking while running is annoying.  Plus he’s slowing me down.

Fourth meeting: He asks, WHY didn’t I come run over the weekend?  I respond that I didn’t feel well.  He says don’t you usually run Sundays? Uh yes, weird that you know that.  So WHY didn’t I come to the park over the weekend??  Because I didn’t feel good damnit! (Didn’t feel good cause I was busy giving up drinking after getting Raj-ed the night before.  That’d be my biggest regret of the month of June.).  He insists I come to his car to grab the aforementioned mint samples, then offers to give me a ride home.  No thanks.

Fifth “meeting“: I come to park and see him standing on the outside of the track, shooting the shit with some other park-goers/friends.  I run two laps and then BAM he’s there, asking why am I late that day?  I mumble something and cut my run off early.

Sixth meeting: I need to get to work early so I leave for my run an hour earlier than normal.  He is ALREADY AT THE PARK RUNNING WITH A FRIEND.  I run two laps then run through fucking stray dogs and horse shit in the park to avoid him.  I come to the conclusion that in all previous meetings he has been waiting for me after working out with friends to “finish up” his last few laps with me.  Jesus.

While that’s the number one stalker, I have met many more dudes.  They yell at me when I run by.  “HEY! DO YOU RUN HERE EVERY DAY?” “HEY, HOW MANY LAPS ARE YOU RUNNING?”  Overall the yells are pretty tame, no one is yelling threats, but they are yelling.  And it’s almost every day, and I have to pretend to be deaf.  So I have met people, but fuck I wish I hadn’t.

3. Help reduce feelings of limitation/fear with being an American woman in India – LMAO. Fuck. No.  I think I felt better when I stayed in my room (after checking the closets, shower, and under the bed for assailants) all day and never left the house.  It has just made me hyper-aware of how much it fucking sucks to be a foreign woman here.  A guy followed me home from the grocery store the other day (broad daylight, baggy full-coverage clothes to those of you that favor victim-blaming) and I almost started crying.  I screamed at him in the middle of the street and he was shamed enough to leave me alone, but fuck.  I spent the next hour ranting to my coworker-roommate about creepy dudes creepin and how FUCK I want to go home.

5. Get focus off of going home 9/16 and onto something productive with shorter/interim milestones. – Holy fuck, no.  I want to go home.  And I fucking hate it when my male coworkers act like they have a superior sense of adventure because I want to go home.  Fuck that.  You try thinking what it would be like to be on-guard and scared any time you need to leave the house/work.  To be out of oatmeal for a week and think, “Meh, I can wait” because you don’t want to walk a block alone.  I took a much bigger risk than you in coming here, don’t act like I can’t handle living away from home.  I can handle living away from home.  I can even handle being scared all the time, I just don’t want to fucking have to.  I also dislike when my male coworkers offer up the following solutions to my not feeling safe: Don’t walk at night (bitch you think I go outside when it’s dark out? the fuck?); Get a gym membership [if you feel unsafe running at the park] (So I can spend money to walk down less-populated streets…alone? Genius.); or my favorite: It’s not that bad (that’s when I send them articles, share anecdotes, or turn on the news).  They should hang out with this guy.

So the marathon training has been fine, but I’m not sure it accomplished its goals.  I actually think that it made me even more blue, but whatever.  I’m sure it’s still good for me.  I do believe after talking to my male coworkers that we should all take appropriate preventative measures to protect ourselves from sexual assault though, which is why I’m going to re-share Ann Bartow’s list of ideas.

prevent-sexual-assault2

Because I love this so much, I’ll re-type for those of you that can’t read it (seriously who can’t read that?).

Don’t put drugs in women’s drinks.

When you see a woman walking by herself, leave her alone.

If you pull over to help a woman whose car has broken down remeber not to assault her.

If you are in an elevator and a woman gets in, don’t assault her.  You know what? Don’t even ogle her.

When you encounter a woman who is asleep, the safest course of action is to not assault her.

Never creep into a woman’s home through an unlocked door or window, or spring out at her from between parked cars, or assault her.

When you lurk in bushes and doorways with criminal intentions, always wear bright clothing, wave a flashlight, or play Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed) by the Raveonettes on a boom box really loud, so women in the vicinity will know where to aim their flame throwers.

Use the buddy system.  If it is inconvenient for you to stop yourself from assaulting women, ask a trusted friend to accompany you when in public.

Carry a rape whistle.  If you find that you are about to assault a woman, you can hand the whistle to your buddy, so s/he can blow it to call for help.

Give your buddy a revolver, so that when indifferent passers-by either ignore the rape whistle, or gather round to enjoy the spectacle, s/he can pistol-whip you.

AND FINALLY…

Don’t forget: honesty is the best policy.  When asking a woman out on a date, don’t pretend that you are interested in her as a person.  Tell her straight up that you expect to be assaulting her later.  If you don’t communicate your intentions, the woman may take it as a sign that you do not plan to rape her.

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