Fear

There is a park about 20 mins away from where I now live. It’s more a forest. I’ve written a post about it last week. You may read the post here. I’ve spent a lot of time there exploring its many cycling and running paths with my boyfriend. And it’s a great shortcut if you want to get to some parts of the city. Then this week this hit the news:

Police asks for help in attempted rapes in at least 8 cases

I’m normally not a person to freak out, but this time I felt a bit weird. All those 8 cases have happened this year and all in the same park I’ve mentioned above, though in different areas. The police suspect that it’s always the same person, but they cannot be sure, because the descriptions vary. The victims were always women, the assaults taking place during the day – even around noon – while they were running in the park. Fortunately, so far nothing really bad has happened except attempts, but that’s bad enough.

Now I’m not sure. I really like to take the route through the park, because it’s so much more peaceful than driving along the road. But when I had to get to university today, I contemplated which route to take. I decided against better reason for the route through the park. And it feels so peaceful there. I cannot imagine anything bad happening. On the contrary, if I needed a place to relax, I’d go there, but I won’t go there alone except when I ride my bike (like I did today).

On my way back I was stopped by a group of journalists who were making a documentation for tv about the case. They asked whether I was afraid to drive through the park alone and I said no. Whether I didn’t find it creepy to hear the leaves rustling and fearing an assault – Uhm no, I grew up in the countryside, where there’s always some noise from an animal you don’t see, but only hear. And what I thought about all this going on. Well, like I said, I’m not feeling 100% comfortable, but if I didn’t feel save, I wouldn’t go there. I hope they catch the person soon, so all women will be able to go there again and feel save. And I wonder what drives people to behave like this. I can’t find anything “entertaining” in frightening or harming other people. And there’s no excuse for such behaviour.

Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t feel save or even felt “in danger”?

Update: The police now strongly advices women not to go running in the park on their own. They should go in groups or take a dog with them. There has now also been posted a reward of 2000 € for any hint that leads to catching the guy.

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