Rape culture affects all of us. It affects the mom walking her kids to school, the sex worker heading home after a shift, as well as the college freshman at her first frat party. It also affects runners, like Laurah Lukin. Lukin, Ph. D, is, among other things, a runner, a coach, an assistant dean and professor at the University of Cincinnati, as well as co-founder of LaoTong—a supportive running community for women. Like many of us, she’s not immune to the occasional ignorant statement. Fortunately, this runner snaps back when someone makes a rape comment about her outfit.
Lukin recently participated in a half marathon and was tagged in one of the images of the race. All well and good, until she read the comments. Now, many of us already know that little to nothing good ever comes out of the comments section. They tend to be a breeding ground for the worst trolls—folks who have too much time on their hands and too much hatred or ignorance in their being. But what Facebook troll Dave Alzayer said was enough to prompt Lukin to write an eloquent and appropriate response to the BS that is rape culture. Alzayer (who is, not surprisingly, a big Trump supporter and against the removal of Confederate statues) saw the photo from the run and, rather than say anything positive or constructive, merely saw a strong woman and felt compelled to tear her down through a rape comment.
“Look at them muscles in those legs!” said one supportive commenter, to which this absurd troll responded:
“That’s because she doesn’t have any damn clothes on and she’s running for her life,” followed by, “No wonder joggers get raped.”
This past Sunday I ran a half marathon.It was a great day. I raced with my friends. We all ran well. I set a goal for…
What exactly was the point of writing this if not to allude that he believes in policing the attire of women, and that there is some direct correlation between attire and rape? Saying she’s “running for her life” just makes it obvious that he can’t recognize that Lukin was running ahead of many of her male running peers—perhaps something that threatens his masculinity?
How a rape comment can perpetuate rape culture
Regardless, Lukin took to her running community’s blog to pen the perfect response:
“It is not my responsibility to choose a race outfit or workout apparel to deter the temptation of men. The length of my shorts is not an indication of interest, invitation or consent,” Lukin writes.
“Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. It is an appalling crime with devastating effect on victims, and those close to them. NOBODY asks to be raped.”
Lukin concludes with this bit of wisdom:
For him, redirecting blame to women is easier than confronting the societal problem of rape, which is far bigger than just a pervasive cultural myth.
“But the truth is, such statements do not decrease the incidence of rape or make women more ‘safe’. These statements only provide rapists what they’re looking for: an excuse for violence. And while this man may believe his comments qualify as a lesson in how to behave, It only propagates an ignorant, dangerous agenda and further justifies this hateful and disturbing behavior.”
Preach, Lukin! And keep running. Those shorts are fly as hell anyway.
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(Image: Facebook / Laurah Lukin)