When you were a kid, I bet you never said, “I want to grow up to fight the injustice of sexual assault.” Although you might have felt called to help people, as we often are, I’m guessing you never declared, "I am going to end rape culture!" And if you are a survivor, or someone you love is, I know you never dreamed of being forced to bear that experience. No one does.
And yet here we are, fighting the good fight. We come to this work and this moment in time from different places but with the same purpose: stopping sexual violence. We each possess our own skills that contribute to victories along the way. Sometimes those talents and those triumphs are loud and lauded, while other times they are borne through sweat, tears, and sacrifices that go largely unnoticed. But with each effort and each step forward we take, we get that much closer to the finish line.
A few months ago, I registered to run my second marathon, the Ohio River Road Runners Club Marathon to be held April 9th in Xenia. I did so in a moment of foolish exuberance or perhaps outright denial. I had run my first marathon in October of last year, a feat so physically taxing I swore I would never do it again. Although I am far from being a talented runner – or even a plain ole good runner – there is something so alluring about that finish line, especially when it takes everything you have in order to get there.
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and National Child Abuse Prevention Month. As a survivor of rape, an advocate of 14 years, and a proud employee of OAESV for nearly 5 years, I want my upcoming marathon to mean more than just another race for me. I want it to make a difference in our collective fight to end sexual violence. And so I’m asking you to consider supporting OAESV’s NO MORE Campaign by making a donation in honor of the marathon we’re all running together. Whether it’s $1 per mile or any other amount, it will help OAESV to continue the public policy advocacy and support of rape crisis centers that has made and continues to make a tremendous difference in the lives of Ohioans.
Running 26.2 miles – much like working to end sexual violence – requires focused determination and continual forward movement, one step, one minute, one mile at a time. I can’t reach the finish line without first crossing mile 1, then mile 2, and so on. There are no short-cuts. Some miles I'll feel defeated and barely able to walk, while other miles I'll feel energized and light on my feet. When I cross the finish line, I will be weakened, but I will also be triumphant because I'll know that I gave it my all to get there. Just as you give your all in this fight every day.
We are getting ever closer to our finish line in the marathon to end sexual violence, and each mile along the way is a critical step in that direction. Please help OAESV to keep this forward momentum going.
In gratitude and solidarity,
Becky Perkins, Communications Director