Marathon Mom Accused of Inviting Rape for Wearing Shorts

jogger sexist comments
Laurah Lukin/Facebook

Earlier this month, runner, mother, and assistant dean and professor of medical education at the University of Cincinnati, Laurah Lukin, ran a half marathon in what she described as "a great day." Friends ran with her, and her husband and daughter cheered her on, as Lukin wrote in a Facebook post and on her blog. The next morning, she woke up to a Facebook notification saying she was tagged in a race photo. She took a look at it -- and was "left speechless" when a man whom she doesn't know left sexist comments about her leopard-print running briefs

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"That's because she doesn't have any damn clothes on, and she's running for her life ... No wonder joggers get raped," he wrote.

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Her first gut instinct was to rationalize and justify her outfit. Then, she realized that his comment was more than just a criticism of her outfit choice. It summed up the problem with rape culture -- the idea that a woman's outfit determines her likelihood of sexual assault.

"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 having sexual assault," she wrote on her blog. 

Instead of just reporting him and deleting his comments, Lukin used this as a chance to confront the "persistent cultural assumption" that rape is a woman's fault or responsibility.

"I do not want my daughter to grow up in a society that normalizes behaviors like victim blaming, sexual objectification, and the trivialization of sexual assault," she told Scary Mommy.

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With her background in anthropology, Lukin recognized that it might be easier for people to believe that a woman's behavior can help her avoid rape, although statistics prove otherwise.

"The length of my shorts is not an indication of interest, invitation, or consent," she wrote.

"Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person's determination to exercise power over another," she continued. "It is an appalling crime with devastating effect on victims, and those close to them. Nobody asks to be raped."

When it comes to how we think about sexual assault and rape culture, Lukin's response is the kind of response that will usher society in the right direction. 

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