Leave me alone, I'm here to run.
August 1, 2010 6:41 AM Subscribe
Help me run without being harassed.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (103 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I've checked previous questions re. harassment, but this one's kind of different.
I run with a buddy near a university, where there's a bunch of stairs leading down to a beach. We go in the morning at around 6AM before the rush hits.
Lately (for the past month) there's been a homeless man sleeping at the top of the stairs. He is frequently drunk and I suspect he's an addict due to behaviour. He's been harassing me and my friend ever since we've seen him (he won't say anything especially crude or sexual and he's not explicitly hitting on us - he'll go along the lines of 'oh, you're running again' and when I ignore him, he'll go along the lines of 'fine, bitch, don't talk to me', etc), and this morning it got worse.
Me and my friend put our warm-up jackets near the stairs, under a bench, away from homeless dude. When we finished our run this morning, he came up to us and told my friend that he moved her car keys into my jacket pocket. (Before anyone tells me that this is her fault, she's never left her keys in her jacket before - she forgot today.) We ignored him, he kept talking (asking if we had family/boyfriends, etc) and then we tripped over a line he'd strung across the path. Let me reiterate: he strung a line to trip us. When we walked away, he shouted, 'Yeah! When you ignore me I set booby traps, that's what I do!' He then proceeded to linger around watching us stretch though we walked approximately half a block away - this sucked immensely because we were parked near him and didn't want him to know what cars we drove. He left only after we walked away in the opposite direction.
I am furious. I can deal with stupid comments because - well, because whatever, and I refuse to let assholes ruin my run, but this (to me) crossed the line. This man went down to where we put our jackets (we tuck them away so they're not easily visible), rummaged through them and then set a 'booby trap' (in his words) for us when we came back. What makes it worse is that my friend's keys have an automatic car unlock on them, and she's not sure if he was in her car or not. arrrrrrrgh what the fuck. Since we've also been running there for some time, he knows our schedule - every time we've been there in the past month, so's he. He doesn't seem to mess with other runners, but the other runners tend to skew towards male, and they don't run as frequently as we do.
My question, then, is this: How do I stop this behaviour from happening, and when I contact the local police and park rangers later, how do I phrase this so that I don't get written off as a hysterical female? I am not afraid of being physically attacked - I am physically strong enough and have enough fight training that I would, in a pinch, be able to defend myself if needed - but I know how bad it would look if a fit twenty-something woman hit back at an old, poor, helpless homeless man (because he wasn't serious, he was just joking, the poor dear, she just overreacted) and I'd like to avoid things getting to the point where physical intervention is necessary.
Thanks for reading this - I know it's long.