Friday, Jan. 19 at 10:00 p.m., a woman was attacked while jogging on the Leon Creek Greenway. The woman was able to fight off her attacker but sustained minor injuries. While the woman received general concern from the public, there were those unsavory few who blamed the woman for her own attack.
Many UTSA students use the Leon Creek Greenway to jog and ride bicycles — myself included. I believe any woman should be able to run at any time of night without fear of being attacked. Many of the comments featured in online articles about the attack painted the image of a foolish woman running to her own fate.
Critics argued that she should have expected no less. The blame was placed on the woman for not knowing any better, instead of on her attacker.
There are several factors that could motivate someone to run late at night. Any busy college student knows that finding time to exercise can be difficult to say the least. The intense Texas heat might also motivate someone to run when the sun is down.
Jogging is a great way to stay in shape but is also often used as a stress reliever.
There are many reasons why it might be dangerous for me to run at night. Wild animals could be loose, a driver might not see me or I could get lost. Most notably, the fact that I am a woman seems to be enough of a reason for me to expect a potential assault.
Instead of telling women to stay indoors after dark, we should hold rapists to stricter standards. Blaming the victim is a negative societal attribute of a culture that commodifies women, where women who jog at night or wear provocative clothing are “asking for it.”
Am I saying that all men are rapists? No, of course not. Women are often guilty of blaming their fellow women for crimes that men commit and continuing this negative stigma of sexuality. The problem lies with an assumption that women should know better than to exercise their independence by jogging alone at night.
Telling a woman that she provoked her own attacker is disempowering, plain and simple. Running at night is unsafe for anyone, not just women.
Yes, we live in a society where women are generally physically weaker than their male counterparts, and yes women can do more to protect themselves like carry pepper spray — but they should not have to. Living in a world where my gender puts me at a disadvantage does not feel like living at all.