In just a few minutes I’ll be running the Shatter the Silence Trail Run…in a purple shirt. I love purple, but this purple shirt has more meaning to it than any other I’ll ever own. It’s strength, resilience, freedom, and hope. In this race, only the survivors of sexual assault will be wearing the purple shirt. The rest of the runners get a white shirt that shows their support for those of us who have survived.
I’ve always worried about what people would think about me if they knew. I’ve been blamed for being the victim of a crime more times than I care to recall. I’ve had friends walk away because they’re unsure of how to deal with just knowing what I went through. It only took a few of these situations for me to realize that I should just keep my dirty little secret. It’s easier…kind of.
The truth is I’m relieved to let this evil secret out. I did nothing wrong, and I did nothing to deserve it. In keeping quiet, I’m encouraging other victims to do the same. That’s not how I want to live my life. Moving past this proves that I am stronger than all of the men who violated me and hopefully sends a message to other survivors that we should not be ashamed.
This run also happens to be my birthday run. 35 is not too old to start over. I’m ready to take back my pride, and it’s waiting for me on those trails.