Let me start this post by saying I’m a former TV producer. Many of my close friends work in the media, and I see it as a necessary vehicle for having an informed public. But story headlines like this, when there is such a profound back-story, really honk me off: “Woman Jogger Attacked in Broad Daylight”
Click on the link above to read the whole story, and you’ll find facts that don’t quite match up to the scary headline. Let me summarize. A woman was jogging on a popular trail in Ogden, Utah and a man came out from the bushes. Here’s the exact account she gave to the dispatcher:
“I was running down this trail and he kind of stepped out. I’m not sure where he was and he said ‘Hi how are you doing?’ and then he tried to throw me down on the ground and I started screaming and kicking at him and then he got up and ran away, ran down the trail.”
The article proceeds to describe her attacker and recommend jogging in groups. The police hit the streets to inform women of the incident, scaring them to death and prompting females across Utah to start jogging with backpacks filled with self-defense tools like pepper spray and alarms. Then they interview a local self-defense expert who points out these terrified women are making a mistake, because the likelihood of them having time to properly use these weapons is not good if they have to reach into their backpack. He recommends women instead use a Sharpie-looking tool that’s actually a pointy weapon, or a small firearm. I don’t know about you, but I love a good workout accompanied by a few pounds of lethal metal in my pocket.
None of this sounds shocking to most people, because it’s the boilerplate violence against women article you read in the media every day. But can I just point out what REALLY happened here? She was attacked and fought back! Using her best three weapons (intuition, voice and body) she regulated this guy. And she won! Give this gal a freakin’ gold medal, or at least a well-deserved chocolate chip cookie.
Let me explain. First, the woman running trusted her intuition enough to sense this was a bad guy. It moved quickly, and this guy acted fast by throwing her to the ground. And here’s the clincher – she then starts screaming (verbal self-defense) and kicking (physical self-defense). His response to her dual resistance measures – He gets up and runs away! Holy shit, this woman was victorious! Yet the headline in the paper reads, “Woman Jogger Attacked in Broad Daylight.”
How incredibly sad. Why, why, why are we not celebrating this? I have a better headline: “Woman Jogger Kicks Local Rapist Ass.” Or, “Moron Rapist Runs Away After Local Woman Unleashes an Estrogen Whooping.” In my version of the story, the reporter shares details of her victorious encounter, and the woman speaks of the importance of sticking up for yourself and that all women should have the right to go for a jog by themselves. Below a big, smiling picture of our heroine the article concludes with event details of the upcoming town parade in her honor.
Which version of the story keeps women down, and which version inspires them? Which version keeps women afraid to sleep alone or travel the world or doing great things in life? And which version makes our young girls find new role models or sign up for a local self-defense course?
Mysterious ass-kicking woman in Utah, today I celebrate you. And I applaud anyone with stories like hers that are too successful, and therefore too unsensational, to be given the credit they deserve.