It’s been roughly more than two years that I have been living in France, and the one disturbing news incident that keeps being repeated intermittently on the news channels, are the cases of the ‘missing joggers’. More specifically, women joggers. This is scary!! This country that has seemed safe to my eyes so far, where no degree of violence has occured against myself or anyone I know. I do not understand this extreme of violence taking place against women, in this country where I, as a woman have almost always felt safe.
The latest of such news took place a few days ago. A woman in her thirties (like myself), a mother of three, had gone out for a jog in her area called Nimes, apparently a safe place with good residential neighbourhoods. She was murdered in a gruesome way with stones and a pocket knife. The murderer was a man, who according to his neighbours was a ‘nice and polite person’. By the way, the man was British and lived not 300 meters from where the crime was committed.
I cannot pretend to look any other way when there are such horrible crimes being committed in France against women. Women in France are strong, women who don’t think twice about taking up ‘men’s’ jobs, without any strong talk of feminism. Mostly, I feel men and women look at themselves equally (at least in comparison to many other countries, French men and women can look at each other comfortably). So how can such a weird crime committed time and again, be explained?? I hear none or very little news of women abducted and raped in cars, or women killed in scary ways, or people forcing their way into homes of women. But it is this one curious news of abducting women who jog. Since 2011, there have been 3 cases so far of women joggers being abducted, and sometimes whose bodies were never found. (By the way, there is another repetitive news of bodies being found in rivers, but usually not of the joggers).
As a foreigner living in France, how safe should I feel living here? I have mostly lived my life in countries, where as a woman, I’ve had to continuously look out for myself against lecherous men. Compared to those countries, I have a vast sense of liberation living in France, but after having heard of the joggers so often, I sometimes wonder if I shouldn’t be taking this freedom for granted. Of course, I always keep my front door locked. Of course, I never open the door to strangers unless I have fired many questions and am convinced there might be no trouble. I keep a wary eye out from my windows to see the comings and goings in the other houses around me. When I am out and about on my own, I am careful, but I admit not as careful as when I used to live in Dubai or India. Unfortunately, both in the UAE and India, women are constantly harassed!! ESPECIALLY if she’s on her own. She has absolutely no freedom to travel. Compared to that bleak scenery, here in France, I can galavant as much as I can, with almost no worry that any man may be leering at me, commenting at me, or even worse, trying to follow me.
Knowing France is so much of a better and nicer country for a woman to live in, it is very sad when I hear of such extreme violence against innocent women. Women who want to go out jogging, have some fresh air, have some solitary time of their own, and then in a few horrific and very scary moments, they lose their lives to demented men! Who are such sick men??! Men who look so ‘polite and nice’??? I am glad I have never put much faith on ‘niceness’ and ‘politeness’. It means nothing to me since they are both superficial traits of human nature. If a person is genuinely nice, that person will go to great lengths, not stop short at nice and polite. But I may be wrong. I wonder if I may have ever met someone with such deranged minds and I may not have recognised at all what danger he/she may be to society.
I think I am going to keep posting any additional missing jogger news to this post, and see by the end of the year, how long the list may get. I am glad, I am not someone who likes to go out jogging at all! But it’s sad for women who are sporty and love to be outdoors, they need to always be on their guard.