Runner writes article in response to man's comments criticizing - Cincinnati News, Weather, Sports from FOX19 NOW-WXIX

Runner writes article in response to man's comments criticizing her attire, mentioning rape

Screenshot of comments on photo of Lukin Screenshot of comments on photo of Lukin

An article written by a Cincinnati runner is gaining traction on social media.

Laurah Lukin wrote the article in response to a man's Facebook comments on several photos of her from a half marathon where the man was critical of her outfit and mentioned rape.

The athlete said she is the co-founder of a women's running group and runs in dozens of races across the Tri-State. On Sunday, she participated in the Little Miami Half Marathon.

"It was awesome," Lukin said.

Lukin said that her post-run high was deflated when she looked at a local photographer's images from the race on Facebook.

"The first thing I saw was that this man who I have never seen before, I don't know who he is, had commented on the photo of me," Lukin said.

The man's comments said:

"Is this normal running gear or did she forget to put her pants on?"

"That's because she doesn't have any damn clothes on and she's running for her life."

"No wonder joggers get raped."

At first, Lukin said she started justifying her outfit in her own head by reminding herself that she was wearing competition briefs which are shorts that are typically worn by runners. As time went on, she said she felt that she had nothing to justify and instead started to feel appalled and angry by what the man had written.

Disgusted with the man's comments, Lukin said that she started writing on her running group's blog. She said she wasn't writing the article for the man, but was instead coping with her anger and hoping to bring attention to a topic she feels is important.

She ended up with the article "A Leopard Shouldn't Have to Change Her Spots."

The focus of the piece, in Lukin's words, is that: "comments that suggest that the behavior of a woman or what a woman wears invites rape or any kind of sexual assault are completely inappropriate. The length of my shorts have no indication of my consent, my interest, or anything like that."

Lukin believes what the man wrote is a form of victim blaming and is something that should not be accepted in society.

"That kind of mindset that suggests that the responsibility is on the victim is really inappropriate, and all it does is give sexual predators an excuse for violence," Lukin said.

Almost instantly, the article took off on social media. It has been shared numerous times.

Lukin said the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive and leaves her hopeful for the future.

"If one person read that and said 'you know what, I'm going to change my behavior because of that,' that's something," Lukin said.

FOX19 NOW did reach out to the man who made the comments via social media to see if he wanted to address or respond to the article, but has not heard back from him thus far.

Lukin said that the photographer who posted the photos has since deleted the man's comments.

She said she hopes that he will apologize for what he wrote - not specifically to her, but in general.

Here is Lukin's full article, "A Leopard Shouldn't Have to Change Her Spots:"

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 myself and exceeded it. My husband and daughter cheered for me at the finish line.

This morning, I woke up to a notification that I was tagged in a race photo on Facebook. Interested to see how the day had been captured, I clicked it and was left speechless by several comments from a man I do not know.

“That’s because she doesn’t have any damn clothes on and she’s running for her life…No wonder joggers get raped.”

Instantly, my brain started rationalizing and justifying my race outfit.

             It was a race!

            They are competition briefs!

            They make me cool and faster!

            My legs move more freely!

            They’re funny!

Then I paused. I was immediately disappointed that my gut reaction to this man’s horrific comments was to defend my wardrobe choice. After all, there were photos from the race of shirtless men, men in short shorts, men in tight shorts; yet he did not feel motivated to comment on their potential for inviting sexual assault.

I was tempted to write an angry response to his comment to “put him in his place”. While such a retort would surely ease my ego, I knew it would probably not influence his opinions.

As a woman and as a mother, however, I feel strongly that this behavior cannot go unaddressed. I do not want these comments to simply be reported to Facebook (which they have been by the photographer) or deleted from the photo comments (which they were by the photographer).  While such actions are indeed appropriate, it does not address or help change the global and persistent cultural assumption that rape is preventable if a female would simply behave or dress a certain way.

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.

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.

Yet this man’s perception persists: If women behaved or dressed differently, we would not be victimized.

How and why do these ideas still exist?

The anthropologist in me realizes that blaming the victim makes us feel safe. It is comforting to pretend sexual assault is something that only happens to people who make bad choices… like racing a half marathon wearing leopard-print competition briefs in Ohio in August. It is easier to harbor a subconscious belief that if women just did all the right things, including dressing a certain way, then we would never be raped.

This is not true.

In fact, this myth has been debunked repeatedly by the Justice Department and other reputable sources and organizations. But these facts, these statistics, this basic logic clearly have not reached the man who commented on my race photo.

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.

For him, comments such as, “That’s because she doesn’t have any damn clothes on and she’s running for her life…No wonder joggers get raped”, makes avoidance of rape the responsibility of women, and not his own.

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.

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