12 Half Marathons in 12 Months: vers. 2.0 Breaking the Silence on Child Sexual Assault
Welcome to our fundraising page! We are a group of runners who are committed to raising awareness and money to help protect Australian children against sexual assault and exploitation.
In 2021 we will complete 12 Half Marathons in 12 Months to raise awareness and funds to protect children from sexual assault and break the silence surrounding this issue. We would be absolutely grateful for your support!
The statistics on child sexual assault are heartwrenching. 1 in 5 children are sexually assaulted by the time they turn 18. In 2017, the ABS reported that approximately 1, 410,100 people living in Australia experienced sexual abuse before the age of 15. 58% of these respondents were sexually abused before the age of 10 (ABS, 2017), and approximately 60-70% of adult survivors did not disclose their abuse as children (London, Bruck, Ceci & Shuman 2005). It is a crime that is shrouded in silence, shame, and secrecy, and this is why it continues at phenomenal rates.
Child sexual assault is a crime that no child should ever have to experience. It destroys a child's innocence, trust, and their self-worth. In many cases it leads to long-term adverse outcomes such as psychological disorders, substance abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, relationship difficulties, and at the very worse, suicide, to name a few.
If you would like to support our cause, please click the donate link to sponsor our efforts in meeting our fundraising goal!
Thank you so much
David, Linda, Fred, Jamie, Nat, Mark, Dale, Ruby, Darren, Hamish, Shane & Rachel 💛
HM No. 4 - Gold Coast Running Festival (18 Apr)Monday 19th Apr
HM #3 - Sandgate to Woody Point (21 Mar)Sunday 21st Mar
HM event #3 - Sandgate Foreshore to Woody Point jetty return. 3 down, 9 to go in our effort to Break the Silence on Child Sexual Assault!
The rain held off, we had beautiful bay views, it was nice and flat and we were hit with the strong headwinds across the bridge which were a struggle to run through. Still, we all managed sub-2 hours and finished sweaty and smiling! 😄
Thank you for another awesome morning of running Shane, Fred, Darren, Liz and David 🙌🏽💛 #12halfmarathonsin12months #wewillnolongerbesilent #protectkids
HM No. 2 - Mt Cootha (20 Feb)Friday 5th Mar
Thank you to everyone who joined us on the mountain for our second event!! This was a pretty tough course with lots of challenging (and relentless) hills to get up but also lots of downhill to pick up speed and push your pace! How is that for fun?! 😂
Thank you to all the runners and walkers for getting up way before sunrise (even after very little sleep🥴), your huge determination and effort, and continued support for this cause, and to those who couldn’t join us this morning, but still kindly donated. We are truly, truly grateful. 💛💛💛
Runners/walkers were: Natalie, Fred, Liz, Darren, Hamish, Shane, Linda, Lan, Kristy, Sigrid, Dale and David who did a brilliant job at manning the fort 💛 Share
HM No.1 - Park to Park Ipswich (17 Jan)Sunday 17th Jan
Breaking the Silence: Tuia's StorySunday 3rd Jan
Recently, I heard about an incredibly strong and courageous young man who has only very recently broken his silence on the sexual abuse he endured as a child. Tuia’s story is an extremely heartbreaking one, but one that needs to be told if we are to begin to understand the long-term effects and the psychological trauma sexual abuse has on victims and survivors. From reading Tuia’s story, I hope people will begin to understand how important it is to be aware of, and be knowledgeable in the prevention of child sexual abuse in the first place, because as we see, the consequences are devastating.
I have sought Tuia’s permission to share his story and would like to take this opportunity to remind him how incredibly proud we are of him and how much his being able to tell his story will mean to so many people. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you so much Tuia.
This is Tuia's story:
It’s often easy for people to think
that they know someone. To see only the surface level and be convinced that
this alone tells someone’s story. Whilst I wish this was the truth it couldn’t
be further from reality; people hurt, suffer and die inside without ever
showing a crack.
For the past 12 years this has been my life. I have lived a lie and only let people see what I wanted them to: the kid who did well in school and sport, the kid who was always so strong and brave, the kid who had nothing in the world to be worried about. Everyday I would put on a disguise, hold a fake smile on my face and display a seemingly invincible exterior all the while when being completely broken and dead inside. The damage this internalisation has caused couldn’t possibly be put into words. But now it has finally caught up to me - years of pretending - leaving me in the most difficult time of my life, a time that has almost cost me everything.
Today I am making this post to set myself and my loved ones free of this burden. Free of the pain and suffering I have felt. Free of the shame, guilt and fear I have unfairly carried. And ultimately, free to begin my journey of healing. This is my story, this is who I am and I am no longer going to hide from it.
12 years ago when I was only 7 years old I was molested and abused by an older boy. My abuse continued over several years and was not limited only to sexual abuse but also the exposure to vile and damaging pornographic content. I was manipulated to believe that what he did to me was a game and something that I knowingly took part in. He destroyed my perception of love, friendship and trust. He took everything beautiful and innocent in a child and crushed it in his hands. I was conditioned to feel like this was something I couldn’t speak about, that if anyone ever found out they would no longer love or care for me. For me this was my greatest fear. From a young age my mum and I have shared an inseparable bond, an unconditional love like no other. The thought of losing her love broke my heart and was powerful enough to keep me silenced for the past 12 years. All of this trauma, all of these images have remained vividly in my mind and have continued to haunt me everyday of my life.
From my waking breath to my last each night I have been followed by an overwhelming anxiety, guilt and shame as a result of my internalisation; an inescapable suffering that I hope no soul ever encounters. As I grew up I tried to forget and suppress these memories, but nothing I did could ever bring me relief. For the past 12 years I have been completely alone, left to the devices of a mind that had been destroyed and corrupted at such an important developmental stage. Left alone with no one to reassure myself of my worries or help piece things together. Worries that have included convincing myself I was going to die of AIDS due to the unprotected sex that was forced onto me. A fear that controlled my life and even prevented me from exploring intimacy as a teenager as I believed I would give other people AIDS as well. Because the mind of a child who had no one to confide in didn’t understand that STD’s couldn’t just be created. I spent years questioning my own sexuality because I had not understood it wasn’t my fault and blamed myself for what had happened. This has been my reality, the fears and thoughts I have had to deal with completely alone.
The pain that all these years of silence have caused could never be put into words. I was broken, empty and utterly crippled. I had lost all hope and given up on life. I had convinced myself that the only way to be free again was to end my life; something I have come very close to many times over the years. I have been living with extreme anxiety, ptsd, paranoia and depression unknown to anyone else including the people closest to me. Issues so bad that I couldn’t sleep at night. That on a daily basis I will vomit, feel nauseous, have headaches, bowel pain, panic attacks, shake, be unable to control my urination just to name a few. I had been seeing a psychologist for my anxiety but wasn’t getting anyone as I hadn’t told anyone even him. Nothing was ever going to change until I got this out.
Ultimately, in my darkest times the thought of no longer being loved or accepted by my family was no longer more powerful than simply wanting to be happy. The feeling of happiness is something that I have forgotten, something that I have replaced with momentary distraction. So after 12 long years 2 months ago I finally worked up the courage to tell my mum and my partner - the first people ever. I had expected to be dumped by my gf, kicked out and never spoken to again, but none of that mattered to me, because all I wanted was to finally relieve myself of this burden and try be happy again. After speaking with them I was speechless to discover that I was loved more than ever and that in no circumstance was this ever my fault - a scenario I never imagined would happen.
The photo I have uploaded was taken at Christmas time just as this was all beginning. I look at this photo now and all I can see is the innocence, purity and beauty of a young child. The expectation of platonic and unconditional love, the expectation to feel protected and be curious without the fear of being manipulated or taken advantage of. I am reminded of the sparkle in my eyes and how happy and hopeful I was for life. I am reminded of all these beautiful things that I deserved but that was stolen from me; things that I have searched for my whole life but will never again be able to find. To 7 year old Tuia I wish so much that I could hold you tight and reassure you that everything is okay. I wish that I could be there when you were worried or scared and tell you everything you needed to hear. I wish that I could tell you this wasn’t your fault, that you couldn’t consent for what happened to you, that you couldn’t comprehend the consequences of what was done to you. I wish that you knew you could always talk to your mum and would never stop being loved. But as much as I wish all these things, I can’t change what has happened. One of the most difficult things with abuse is accepting that something horrific has happened. This is my reality, this traumatic thing has happened to me and I will have to live with this for the rest of my life. But happiness is a choice, I may not be able to forget or change what happened to me but what I can do is choose to be happy and make the most of this beautiful life I am grateful is still mine. I am in no way fixed, I am still broken and will be trying to pickup these pieces for the rest of my life. I am still undertaking psychotherapy, now more intense than ever. Over these past few months i have deteriorated more and more; years of suppression have let themselves out at once. Each and everyday has been a fight for my life. A fight to simply get up out of bed and survive. Because at times that’s all it is, finding the strength to get up, get through the day and make it to the next. But in-spite of all this pain I continue to feel, there is now a glimmer of hope for me that I will get better, that I will overcome this and that I will be happy again.
Some of you may not understand why I would want to share something so personal. I can assure you that sharing this isn’t something I am doing for sympathy or personal gain. I am doing this to spread awareness and the hope that maybe my story could save even just one person... one person from blaming themselves for something they couldn’t see wasn’t their fault... one person from being alone and scared... one person from losing all hope and feeling like their life is lost. If I could do any one of these things than all the pain and hurt I have felt would be worth it.
Life is a beautiful gift but something that doesn’t have second chances. I may not be that strong at the moment, but I hope with all my heart that sharing my story could help someone who feels as I once have. I may not have all the answers, I may not have overcome this yet but I am a survivor and I will keep fighting because he will not win. To my abuser, I now pass on the shame, guilt and hurt that I have carried all these years. This was never mine to own and now it returns to you.
I conclude by reminding everyone of the reality that we all have our own stories and can never truly know what something is going through. If I could ask anything it’s that we all remember to be loving, compassionate and kind to one another. Check up on everyone, your friends and family, people you don’t talk to much and even those who seem the strongest out of us all. These acts could be the difference in someone’s life. Thank you
Thank you to my Sponsors