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Coastal Walk Creeps

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on May 19, 2011 in News

I was planning upon writing a piece about property managers this month after a particularly painful experience with a couple of creeps who posture under this professional banner. But then I read a news article about an incident involving a far bigger creep that took place on the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk and it shocked me into action.

On May 5 at around 8pm, a woman was reportedly attacked from behind by an unknown man while she was jogging along the popular coastal walk. According to reports, the 29-year-old woman was running north at Tamarama when a man approached her from behind and put his hand over her mouth. He then grabbed her around the chest, pulling her backwards. She screamed, broke free and went to a nearby business to report the incident, while her attacker fled the scene. Thankfully she was uninjured.

I recently wrote about ‘Coastal Walk Etiquette’ and have often sat and observed the multitude of perfect (and far from perfect) examples of the human species (both male and female) on display along the iconic pathway so I consider myself quite the expert on this particular expanse of footpath. And to be completely honest, I’m not at all surprised that such an incident has taken place. Disappointed, yes, but certainly not surprised.

Darkness is continuing to settle earlier and earlier on the Eastern Suburbs neighbourhood (up until winter solstice on June 21) and, unfortunately, those of the fairer sex in particular should be rethinking the timing of their exercise regimes. Alternatively, if you do decide to go out after dark be sure you do so as part of a group and stick to well-lit routes. A running buddy will not only make your exercise more enjoyable (and potentially more effective) it will also decrease the likelihood of attack.

It is an unfortunate sign of the times that this decision has to be made but it is a simple reality. This is by no means the first incident of its kind on the coastal walk and I imagine that there are numerous similar incidents that have gone unreported (both to the police and by the media) in the past.

In my old age, I’m probably getting increasingly creepy, and while I don’t understand or sympathise in the slightest with the dirt bags who prey on unsuspecting women in such a way, it’d be naïve to think that all these beautiful, scantily-clad creatures who cavort up and down the coastal walk wouldn’t sow seeds in a sicko’s mind.

Before you get your knickers in a twist, I’m certainly not about to get all ‘controversial Muslim cleric’ on you and blab on with a ‘you had it coming to you in that skimpy outfit’ style rant. Rather, I’d just like to plead that women in particular take every possible precaution because in general, blokes are significantly stronger than women (though I certainly wouldn’t want to test this theories against the likes of Michelle Bridges or Libby Trickett!) and there are plenty of loonies out there.

In the interest of public safety, I should mention that the assailant was described as a muscular Caucasian man aged in his early 30s with short, spiky hair and acne scarring on the left side of his face. If you encounter any form of harassment, whether on the coastal walk or elsewhere in the east, be sure to report it to the police – your close encounter and subsequent report could help save someone else from going through a similar, potentially far worse experience.

To finish, and on a significantly lighter note, this latest breach of ‘Coastal Walk Etiquette’ certainly makes my musings a couple of months ago seem rather trivial!