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Opinion: Eliza Fletcher was just on a run

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She was just on a run.
Those are the words that came into my head as I read, crying, if I’m honest, about 34-year- old Eliza Fletcher. A teacher and keen runner, Eliza was out for her morning run last week in Memphis, USA, when a man abducted her and murdered her.

Even writing this, I’m stuck a little; the words feel lodged in my throat, so hard is it to contemplate that a man saw a woman out on a jog and killed her.

She was just on a run.

Like me, like many of us, Eliza had a life, a job, a family, and children. Her poor family. I can’t even begin to imagine what this must be like, and my heart goes out to them.

Because here we are. Again. Here we are, as women feeling as if we cannot do anything we want to do. Eliza lived in America, yet that water divide is nothing when it comes to the heartache we collectively and closely feel at life being taken away.

She was just on a run.

When will it end? What will it take? So many female runners have taken to social media to demand that this has to end, swathes of us saddened, angry, and distraught.

It’s been just over a month since I wrote my first article on how I was out running, and I stopped, so blindsided was I that to go on a run as someone who identifies as a woman is a risk. It is.

Sure, I may be bold, I may think, stuff it, I’m running anyway, but inside, there’s a constant part of me on watch, on alert.

And all I want to do is run. I love running; it’s my absolute joy. I have been running since I was a tiny kid; it’s my freedom, my headspace, my place of peace, strength and fun.

But now? Now, I spend my runs on guard, trying to relax and train for my race, but it’s hard.

She was just on a run.

Enough now. This has to end. Women demand equal rights when it comes to freedom because we just don’t have them. And if I sound angry, it’s because I damn well am, and with mighty good reason.

I don’t want to put up with this anymore; this can’t go on. We can’t just accept that this is the way society of, that, oh well, some people do bad things, so let’s just carry on as we are, nothing we can do about it. No. No way. I want to run with freedom just like the men do, without being judged, stared at, followed, or anything else hideous that female runners regularly put up with.

Without fear.
She was just on a run.

This Ends Now is staging a protest march demanding an end to sexual violence on 17 September, 11 am, meeting on the green outside the Lock Keeper’s Cafe, Stroud.

Full details on their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/This-Ends-Now-104969892321799

Follow This Ends Now on Instagram here https://www.instagram.com/thisendsnow__/

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