As many of you know, I was raped in 2004, my sophomore year of college. It happened on the first weekend in October, & I have come to really dislike & fear that specific time of year. This year, on that same first weekend in October, on the 10th anniversary of my assault, I will be running my very first half marathon. This is a big deal to me on many levels (as anniversaries often are for survivors), but the most significant is going to be actively taking the opportunity to reclaim that weekend & make it a memorable time in my life for a safe & happy reason, of my choosing.
As a part of "taking back" that weekend, I've decided to turn my race into a fundraising opportunity to support UNH's SHARPP, the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program, as it was inexplicably helpful to me in my time of need. This race, the Smuttynose Rockfest, does not require its runners to raise money for special causes, but this seems like such a perfect opportunity to raise awareness & give back.
The mission of the Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention Program is to eliminate sexual and intimate partner violence. SHARPP's mission is accomplished in two parts: by providing free and confidential advocacy and direct services to all survivors and their allies; and by offering culturally competent awareness and prevention programs to the University of New Hampshire community.
To support SHARPP's efforts, my financial goal is $500, but my additional goal is to be able to say out loud (& on social media), "I was raped, I survived & thrived, here are things to know & ways to help those who might be struggling like I was."
Survivors of sexual abuse, as well as the abuse itself, are often highly stigmatized & misunderstood, & I want to help change that. For some people reading this, the best gift you could give is getting help for yourself or learning how to support someone important to you in their healing. Please know that I am indescribably grateful for any contribution, in any capacity, that you are able to make.
If you are interested in learning more about SHARPP's vital programs & resources, you can visit their main website at http://unh.edu/sharpp/
If you are in need of help or would like to help someone in your life, you can visit SHARPP's support website at http://unh.edu/sharpp/getting-help or call their 24/7 confidential help line at [phone redacted].
If you want to know more about my own experience with SHARPP, just ask!
Thank you so much for your time, energy, & cheers on October 5th!
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