A police campaign has received nationwide backlash for suggesting women to run in groups to avoid sexual harassment.
Avon and Somerset Police launched their #JogOn campaign on 21 January, which is aimed at men and women. It is in partnership with their anti-harassment group Bristol Zero Tolerance in a bid to help people feel safe while running outdoors.
Detective Superintendent Marie Wright said: “Exercising in a group can be a great way to help you feel safe, keep you motivated and deter threatening behaviour, so why not join your local running club?”.
The campaign was met with widespread criticism for placing the onus of sexual harassment on females.
Jemma Peacock, a Press Officer from Lincolnshire Police, has said that harassment is not only aimed at solo-runners.
Miss Peacock, 43, said: “I have done a lot of running in Lincoln, mostly alone. You get harassment in a group too though.”
She said she will continue to run on her own and make her own decisions on what is safe”.
Miss Peacock said: “I have been beeped at, yelled at and patronised.
No way will I let that pathetic behaviour change what I do.”
Lincoln’s own all-female running group, The Pink Ladies Running Club, appreciate the safety blanket a running group provides.
Kate Trollone, the organiser, said: “We like the security of running in a group. In winter, we stick to well lit routes and wear high visibility gear.
She said: “There is safety in numbers as you’re less likely to have comments made to you from people driving past in vans”.
Miss Trollone talked about the other aspects a running group can provide. She said: “It is so much more than running when you’re in a group.
“The friendship between the ladies and I is a very important part of the group. You get to meet women from all walks of life that I wouldn’t of met before the group.”
The Pink Ladies meet every Tuesday with a 6pm group for beginners and 7pm group for those who’d like to improve on their running skills.
The sessions have a pay as you go scheme of £3 and are fully insured by Run England and England Athletics.