Letter: Anchorage, please pay attention to what you teach your sons

When running on the Coastal Trail, I expect to meet certain obstacles — mainly wildlife. I don’t, and shouldn’t, expect harassment from anyone, especially children. Tonight I encountered five 12-year-old boys who blocked the trail with their bikes, forcing me to run around them. As I passed, they began making graphic sexual gestures and shouting comments about both my gender and physical appearance.

As a taxpayer, resident, woman, and human, I deserve better. Their comments upset me, but not because I took them personally; I’ve spent 24 years as a female. I’m routinely marginalized by coworkers, employers, classmates, strangers, and the media. I have a thick skin.

What upset me is that those boys deserve better. They deserve to be taught that harassment is not OK, that making sexual comments at someone twice your age does not make you cool, that your penis does not make you superior. Anchorage, please pay attention to what you teach your sons. If this is how they act at 12, I’m terrified of what they’ll be like as adults.

— Mara Hill