Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Break the Silence

On October 16, 2011 Suzanne LeDuc ran the Baystate Marathon in Lowell, MA to help raise awareness about childhood sexual abuse.  The following are some of her thoughts from the race and her experience:

I ran the Baystate marathon this year in hopes of raising awareness about Childhood Sexual abuse. An issue that has affected millions of adult survivors, their families and loved ones. The number of survivors of childhood sexual abuse are greater than any one disease, and there is a cure. Yet, as a society we choose to ignore this issue, perpetuating the silence and the shame. It is my hope that by talking about CSA, having the conversation, we can make a change.

I had imagined that by wearing the Run for Innocence logo on the front of my shirt, and the Safe Kids Strong Teens on the back during the marathon, I would at least get a question or two, and have the opportunity to share the knowledge I've gained about the issue.  But I didn't. Not a word. In fact, this was  the quietest race I'd ever run.  Other than a few spectators cheering us on, there were no runners conversing during the race. Only an "excuse me" or "Sorry", when navigating for water or Gatorade at the hydration stops.

I certainly noticed the quiet, but I understood it. Once I started running, I forgot about the logo's on my shirt, and could only focus on finishing the race. Running a marathon Is not a team sport. You become engrossed with your own thoughts and the pain coursing throughout your body. You constantly question if you'll be able to finish, if you have what it takes - each mile marker a congratulatory flag, yet indicating the beginning of the next, forcing you to summon up the energy to push through yet another one. The pain was crippling,  I resolved to just keep moving  - lifting my head and focusing on something ahead of me to take my mind off of the pain. The memories of finishing my past marathon's were enough to give me the courage that I could finish.  Which I did, in 4 hours and 20 minutes - a personal record for me.

I can only imagine that recovering from CSA is much like the marathon. The similarities of being within yourself, questioning, dealing with pain yet persevering.  But those would be the only similarities. People are inspired when I tell them I've run a marathon; Survivors fear telling their story. They fear telling their story because society still refuses to acknowledge this problem.  It is too uncomfortable to talk about, it doesn't really happen. With this attitude, the problem continues, more children are hurt , their innocence taken away from them.  There lives forever affected, changed  without having any choice in the matter.

I may not have opened anyone's eyes during my marathon, but when I tell the story of my marathon I'll be telling them I did it for CSA, and use that opportunity to disrupt the silence.

No comments:

Post a Comment