Woman running along the Charles uses pepper spray to fend off attacker

Cambridge Police report a Harvard student running along Memorial Drive near Western Avenue was attacked around 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday.

The victim reported that she was grabbed from behind by an unidentified male. The victim immediately began to struggle with the male and discharged pepper spray in an attempt to thwart her attacker. The victim was able to break away from the offender and fled the area and ran to the safety of one of the River Houses. The victim was unable to provide a detailed description of the offender.




Free tagging: 


Glad she got away

This happened to me once when I was in high school, it's extremely scary. I'm glad she was so adept at defending herself and getting away. Best wishes to her in her running and her studies!



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Glad she fended off the attacker. It's much safer to run in groups. I never run alone @ night. It's too dangerous.


this is the wrong answer

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The right one is "people shouldn't attack other people"

Doesn't matter if you're alone, night, day, you have a right to enjoy public space.


They're both correct

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It is safer to run in groups...AND..people shouldn't attack other people.


No, Bugs is right

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That people shouldn't attack other people is a given. Given that there is the possibility of being attacked (if you are a woman), it is safer to run in groups. Sadly, at the end of the day there will be people (men) who, despite society saying that attacking people is wrong, still do it.

Runners World had a big story about violence against runners, and yes against female runners in particular, last year. They surveyed people. It surprised me how many female runners carry weapons, including firearms, when they run. There are definitely places I run at night that I wouldn't were I female, and there are some popular places I wouldn't feel safe running in at night as a male (in particular, a secluded part of Olmstead Park in JP.)


I understand the need to know how to defend oneself, but

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I would not advocate the carrying of weapons such as firearms or even knives for self-defense, because they can be taken away from the person carrying those weapons. Also, if the attacker also happened to be carrying a knife or gun him/herself, then the situation becomes even more dangerous.

Glad the woman with the pepper spray succeeded in warding off her attacker with the spray. That's not unheard of. Kudos to the woman for being able and willing to do that.



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Most of the weaponry was pepper spray, but they did interview a runner who packed heat in a fanny pack when she went out.

Dog spray would be good, too. I've been chased by dogs (on leashes that were supposed to be secured in the owner's yard. Supposed to.) Dog spray seems like a good defensive tool in a case that.

Why does someone always jump

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Why does someone always jump in and attack a simple risk mitigation strategy/safety reminder as victim blaming? I have a right to sleep safely, doesn't mean I don't check the batteries in my smoke detectors.


It's because running at

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It's because running at midnight, or alone, or in a scary place isn't a problem. Crime is the problem. Saying people shouldn't do whatever it may be they were doing when they get preyed upon is akin to the physician in the joke telling the patient "Then don't do that."


It is victim blaming, that's why.

Just as logical as telling someone with asthma to not breathe, rather than taming pollution problems.

Here's a radical concept: start instead by talking about DON'T ATTACK PEOPLE messages as "advice" to all your fellow males, mmmmkay?


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but I would never run alone late at night. Heck, I will not run during the day on secluded trails if there are not to many people on the trail. (Without going into all the sordid details, I have been assaulted.) Yes, I should be able to go and do what I want, where I want, but we live in a world where some people do bad things to others. That will not change. I rather be alive rather than hurt and/or killed.

And I would not carry a weapon because quite simply it could be used against me.


I wouldn't go running or walking alone late at night, either.

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Putting oneself unnecessarily in a position where s/he is more likely to be robbed, assaulted, or whatever isn't a good idea. If, however, one does have to travel at those hours, being cautious and paying attention to what's going on around them is very important.

Risk avoidance is all well and good

But when it happened to me, it was 5 pm. In Winchester. On Main Street. So restricting hours/locations can only do so much, which is why I think a lot of people say to hell with it and take the chance.

And talk about victim blaming--my mom yelled at me after the cops left!

When I lived in Allston-Brighton

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my mom banned me from going out after dark. Yes, I was supposed to be home from 4:15 pm - 7 am in December.

Shame she couldn't tell that to my boss, I was scheduled to work as early as 6:45 am some days and got out of work as late as 11 pm others.

I try to avoid situations where something unsafe might happen too, but being able to go places like "work" is pretty important.


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Offering tips to avoid something like this is NOT victim blaming. Where exactly did someone say it was the woman's fault she got attacked, or she deserved it for running at night?

concern trolling

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.. is what that´s called, and its pretty much the same thing as victim blaming.

How about this solution

If you are a man, stay off the streets after dark and you won't rape. Or take a friend with you to prevent you from raping/attacking.

Sound reasonable? Actually, it is much more reasonable than using fear to socially control the movements and activities of women.