Cassandra Davis

Session 2
Board Number

Public Harassment of Runners in the United States

Background: This study sought to investigate runners’ experiences of public harassment in the United States, specifically the association between gender and sexual orientation and harassment experiences.

Methods: Adult runners living in the United States (N = 1645) completed an online survey distributed through social media, running organizations' email lists, and participant referrals. Survey data reported here include forms of harassment experienced over the lifetime as well as participant demographics.

Results: There was a significant effect of gender on the number of forms of harassment experienced over the lifetime for the three gender categories used for analyses [F(2, 1464) = 41.68, p < .001]. Post hoc comparisons indicated that the average number of forms of harassment experienced over the lifetime for women (n = 1091; M = 3.90, SD = 2.69) and non-binary/trans individuals (n = 33; M = 4.06, SD = 3.23) were significantly higher than the average number for men (n = 343; M = 2.40, SD = 2.57). However, women did not differ significantly from non-binary/trans folks in number of forms of harassment experienced over the lifetime. Furthermore, sexual minorities (n = 224; M = 4.14, SD = 3.00) compared to people who are straight (n = 1241; M = 3.44, SD = 2.70) reported experiencing significantly more forms of harassment, t(1463) = 3.50, p < .001. The most commonly experienced forms of harassment for women, non-binary/trans people, and sexual minorities were unwanted sounds, unwanted comments, and staring.

Conclusions: Our results indicate that public harassment of runners is common, with women and non-binary/trans individuals experiencing more harassment than men. Additionally, our results suggest that sexual minorities experience more harassment than people who are straight. Further analyses will examine the relationship between participant demographics and other aspects of harassment such as behavioral changes, harassment attributions, and fear of harassment.