Organisations, including the likes of This Mum Runs and Women's Running, has launched the #WEWILL campaign to raise awareness of the sexual harassment suffered by female runners.
The campaign will focus on the actions that men and women can take to enable female runners to go about their exercise without fear and to feel safe.
A survey conducted by Women's Running found that 69 per cent of women do not feel safe or, adjust their behaviour to feel safe when they go out for a run. Moreover, 79 per cent stated that they have been shouted at whilst out running and 31 per cent have thought about stopping running due to their own safety concerns.
Alongside This Mum Runs CEO, Mel Bound and Women's Running editor Esther Newman, other founders of the campaign include Third Eye Marketing founder Ruth Hopper and The Space Between co-founder Lisa Parfitt. It is hoped that the collective will bring men and women together to support positive actions in changing and altering the fears that female runners have.
Campaign organisers said in a statement: "In the days following the murder of Sarah Everard, and reflecting on the deaths of Blessing Olusegun, Nicole Smallman and Bibaa Henry, as well as the cry of help from our run communities, it became abundantly clear to us that we have all been changing our running (& walking) behaviours out of fear our whole lives. Many women have told us that it’s behaviour so ingrained that they’re not even consciously aware of it. The men in our lives were also shocked, “we had no idea” was a common response.
"We are inspired by women who share their experiences with men, not just live with them. We are inspired by men who are inspired to listen to women’s lived experience and question their actions (and those of others) and address those behaviours. This isn’t about campaigning for quick fixes, #WEWILL is a campaign to force out a systemic culture of female oppression.
"Abuse of women by men isn’t just a woman’s problem. This is everyone’s problem – man, woman and child – this is time for us to come together to make collective change. #WEWILL will focus on changing behaviour and attitudes towards women and initially promote & support positive actions that men and women can both take, via pledges, to add up to widespread societal and cultural change. We can’t do this by ourselves"
Author: Jake Wilkin