A woman chased down a man who exposed himself to her as she was jogging and pinned him to the ground before he escaped.
Massachusetts State Police are now looking to identify the man who allegedly flashed the woman, known only as Aia, as she was out for her morning jog on July 18.
Surveillance footage obtained from the area at the time of the incident shows Aia stop, turn around and pursue the man before attempting to physically detain him.
Aia, who is 6’1″ and served in the Israeli military, told NBC Boston she held the man on the ground for a few minutes and yelled for help, but no one came to her aid.
The jogger explained:
Where I come from and how I grew up, we don’t just walk by. We don’t just ignore it, because I have a daughter and it could be my daughter next to him and she’s not going to be that.
If you want to call it bravery for what I did, yeah, it’s for the ones after me.
Aia recalled telling the man she was ‘going to get him’, before adding: ‘It was not his lucky day, because I decided to chase him down.’
The man eventually got away and fled the area, police said – but not before Aia ‘put the fear of God in him’, as per a state police spokesperson.
When asked if she had any regrets about chasing after the man, the jogger said:
Hell no. I was not ready to see his little ****. I’m not doing that no. Just no. It’s not right.
A close-up image from the same surveillance footage shows a heavy build man with short, dark, receding hair. He was wearing black and grey running clothes with black running shoes.
This incident is just one example of the daily harassment women face while going about their everyday business. To counter this, women are often warned to avoid walking home alone or to not go jogging by themselves when it’s dark outside.
But Aia’s case shows that sexual misconduct can happen at any time, on any day, regardless of where you are or who’s around. Aia was forced to witness a stranger exposing himself to her in broad daylight at 7.30am – a time when many people would have been starting their daily commute.
When asked about these warnings aimed at women and girls – to not jog alone and to stay safe etc… – Katie Russell, the national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England and Wales, said this puts an onus on the victim or potential victim to protect themselves and keep themselves safe.
Katie told UNILAD:
The way this advice is given and the way it’s targeted is absolutely towards women and girls, implying that we have a responsibility and that we have the ability to prevent all sexual violence and abuse against us.
The sad truth is we don’t always because of the way perpetrators operate, but also ultimately we really shouldn’t have to. Curbing our freedoms and making us constantly police our behaviours and live in fear isn’t ultimately the long term and desirable solution.
The solution is teaching respect and empathy in appropriate ways, which is 100 per cent possible from the earliest possible age, and being consistent in those messages and having no tolerance for this kind of violence and abuse.
In Massachusetts, indecent exposure, disorderly conduct, and prostitution are all penalised under one specific statute. Although indecent exposure is not defined by this law, the Massachusetts courts describe it as ‘an intentional act of lewd exposure, offensive to one or more persons.’
The maximum penalty for this is up to six months in jail and a $200 fine, although the sentence can be extended for repeat offenders or elevated sex crimes.
State police said that although their official stance is for victims not to chase anyone, they don’t fault Aia for doing so. Anyone with information regarding the man is urged to contact state police on 617-727-6780.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30). Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111.
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).