I joined Running Mums Australia just under a year ago, and since then I have read at least 3 posts, by 3 different women, about an experience they have had of being outside, in public, running, and having young men yell out degrading, awful, rude, hurtful, unnecessary, shameful things to them.
All of these posts have been met with hundreds (literally) of people from our community showing support and encouragement, but also many of them sharing similar stories of humiliation. I was so hurt and saddened by these posts, but also angry, and frustrated. I needed to write this.
To the women this has happened to:
I apologise. I’m truly sorry that our world is home to anyone that feels it necessary to do this to another human being.
It is not right that you should have to deal with this – it should not have ever happened to you.
But, because it has, please do not be disparaged.
YOU ARE AMAZING.
YOU ARE A MOTHER.
YOU ARE STRONG, RESILIENT, AND CAPABLE OF TRULY GREAT THINGS.
Dust off this experience, hold your head high, and continue on your journey. You may have just started this, but you are doing something incredible, and we are behind you.
Chase your dream, and achieve your goals, and laugh at the small minded people that had the audacity to laugh at the start of your journey.
To everyone else:
I urge you to help. If you have these thoughts, or even voice these types of words, be very careful. Do not sit in the seat of judgement. These are women who have given up so much for their families, and those that they love. You do not know their story, and you have no right to judge their lifestyle. Instead encourage them. They are finding time for themselves, and using that time working hard to improve themselves. And that is something to be celebrated.
We need to raise children, especially boys, who grow into men who respect women. Women are not merely visual beings that can be either appreciated or degraded based on our looks. Teach ourselves, and our children, especially the young men of our community, that women are not de-valued because of their appearance. ALL people, men and women, should be respected and encouraged in their endeavours.
If you see an overweight woman exercising, and you find yourself thinking or saying something degrading, catch yourself. If you witness someone else saying something degrading or judgemental have the courage to say something.
Remember how truly great these women are.
They have a struggle in their life – just like we all have different struggles – but they are facing it, head on, and beating it. This is no easy feat. They deserve our respect and admiration.
I hope they always hear us cheering much, much louder than the car full of idiots with the poor attitudes.