This post is going to be a little bit different than what I normally write, but Mollie’s story hit so close to home, that I felt that it was only right to write about it.
I didn’t know Mollie. We live in different parts of the country, in different states, do different things, and went to different schools. But after only knowing a tiny bit about her, I know we are exactly the same. She was just a girl going for a run. Nothing fancy or special. She wasn’t over thinking it, she just went outside like it was a normal day. But she was wrong, and the worst thing imaginable happened to her. Stories like Mollie’s break my heart because they remind me of the cruel world that we live in. Women shouldn’t have to be afraid to go outside. Yet here we are, never running in the dark or alone. An entire industry has been built off of men abusing women and making them afraid. Different pepper sprays that you can easily carry, different small weapons that you can attach to what you are wearing, special underwear to prevent rape…. This is ridiculous! How is the world at a point where women can’t even go outside without being afraid of what can happen.
I never run in that dark, someone always knows where I am, and I will forever live with a roommate so that when I leave the apartment someone will notice if I never come back. I shouldn’t have to remember to bring my ID with me every time I go on a run, but I do because if I am somehow brutally murdered at least the police will be able to identify my body once they find my drivers license….This shouldn’t have to be my mentality, women shouldn’t have to deal with this, and most importantly, men shouldn’t be making us afraid.
Now we have an addressable problem. Men and boys are taught aggression from a young age, that being sensitive makes them weak and that being rejected by a women is unacceptable. Mollie understood that her word was the end-all-be-all of her decisions, but the man who killed her had no regard for what she wanted. He didn’t care about her “no”. He took away her freedom, her safe space, her run. And he has reminded all women that we are not safe by ourselves, because men do not respect our “no”. This is an addressable problem with an actionable solution. Teach men to respect the word “no”. Teach boys about consent. Dismantle this societal norm of fragile masculinity. Women deserve to feel safe out on our runs. We should be able to run in the dark and by ourselves without fear of being killed by a stranger. Mollie should not have to have been afraid of going on a run.