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  1. Running the healing road…part 2



    In part 2 of the blog, we hear how running, coupled with support from RSVP, has helped a survivor to heal…

    After a few months of running I completed a 5k (3.1 mile) event, then later a 10k (6.2 mile) event. Amazingly I now can run 13.1 miles without stopping! I set myself the task of running my first half marathon last year and can honestly say it’s one of the proudest moments of my life. My initial aim was to run it without stopping but as the date got closer I became competitive with myself and set the goal to run it in 2 hours 15 minutes- I did it in 2 hours 13 minutes and 38 seconds!

    There was no doubt in my mind that I would run and fundraise for RSVP because this charity will always hold a special place in my heart. The journey of training to run 13.1 miles was both a physical challenge but also a rewarding and healing one. Every time I stepped out the house for a run I thought of RSVP and what they did for me and what the money I was running for could do for others. I have proudly raised over £700 in total from this but I will always be in debt to those at RSVP who continue to support me through this unfair and unjust traumatic experience. There were times along the route that tears filled my eyes but not of sadness but of hope and peace for both myself and other sexual abuse survivors. Although I can see the progress I have made over the years I know that this healing journey will be a life-long one and I am not alone- it most certainly was NOT my fault.

    Both RSVP and running have taught me to be kind to myself and that it is okay to let the tears flow. I am now delighted to be invited to help other survivors who want to try running through a running group, delivered jointly by RSVP and GINA, a social enterprise for survivors. I hope to be able to encourage others to set off on and run their own ‘sexual abuse healing road.’

    If you would like to join Gina’s survivor running group, read more here

    Posted 9 February 2015
  2. Running the healing road…part 1


    Here’s part 1 of an inspirational story from one of the amazing survivors we’ve worked with…

    Last year I ran my first half marathon and chose to fundraise for RSVP. A few years ago, if you had told me that I would be running 13.1 miles I would have laughed and said ‘never!’ However, here I am today still feeling very proud of my achievement. My journey to running the ‘sexual abuse healing road’ began when I went to my GP to talk about feeling down and tearful. After listening to me he asked whether I had ever been sexually abused and while I was shocked, I was relieved that he had asked too. His question opened a very tightly shut and hidden box. What followed was the worst time of my life. Although I knew that I needed to allow this box to be opened, in order to deal with the contents, it was hard. I had tried to talk about what had happened to me many years before, but my disclosure wasn’t greeted with the support it required. Hence I was very thankful that my current GP had the courage to ask me a very sensitive question because I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for this.

    I’d heard about RSVP through a friend and after contacting them I had 6 months worth of counselling. Although they were the most difficult 6 months of my life, I will always have fond memories of the very caring RSVP volunteer counsellor who gave up her evening to listen to me. RSVP counsellors and volunteers truly deserve the biggest gold medals. It became a bit of a mood lightener when I used to bring in boxes of tissues with me, because I felt so bad using all theirs, with the amount of tears I shed!

    For me the work of RSVP is life-saving because they were there for me when no one else knew what to say or how to deal with my tears. I was able to let go of all the sorrow, shame, grief, loneliness, tears, anger and many other emotions in a safe and caring environment. I have learnt a lot about myself and how what happened to me has shaped me as a person. I now understand the importance of acknowledging and accepting my emotions even the bad and the ugly ones. I now feel how I feel and no longer try to automatically change my feelings. If they feel too raw and painful at first, I ‘feel’ them and accept what they are and how they are part of the healing process. I now know that there is a part inside me that was hurt beyond words and had to deal with the physical and emotional trauma alone. Everyday I can now tell that part that she is loved and I believe her.

    I began running in 2012 initially as a way to lose weight. However, I soon became aware of the positive effects it had on my mental, emotional and physical well-being. At first I could only run for a few minutes at a time before I had to stop and rest, but over time I gradually built these few minutes up.

    Find out what where running took her, part 2 of the story coming soon

    If you would like to join Gina’s survivor running group, read more here

    Posted 5 February 2015

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