POWER TO THE SHE
OWN YOUR STRONG
FUTURES WITHOUT VIOLENCE
My sister and I ran the 2015 New England Mudderella a few weekends ago. These phrases are things you hear a lot on the course. They may seem like just phrases, but they are so much more than that. In my opinion, they are a call to action to women and men everywhere to wake up and pay attention.
Power to the she: women are strong, and capable. No one doubts that. However in this race there is no “this is easier” “here is an easier obstacle” “here is the female start line”. There is just a course. A five mile obstacle course. Running up hill, down hill, climbing walls, trudging through sludge, balancing on balance beams made of logs, and crawling under wires through mud. It is a tough course. It was definitely fun, but you needed to do it as a team, and you had to believe in yourself.
Own your strong: each woman (and man) on the course has their story. Each story is different, but what isn’t different is that we all race for the cause. No matter how large or small the donation, no matter how strong or weak we are, we all run for each other. The idea of teamwork is critical in this race. Many obstacles occur just so that you CANNOT get through it alone. One obstacle in particular for me was the wall. Even with a foot hold, my body weight weighed me down. I didn’t trust myself to not flip over the wall. I felt unsteady. There was a great group of women who helped us through and at this obstacle, they spotted and encouraged me. I found myself saying “I just needed to know someone was there.” I was strong enough, I just needed the courage. In that moment I owned my strong in that I could not do it alone.
Futures without violence is a not for profit organization that supports women, educates, and fights against domestic violence, child abuse, bullying, and violence against women. It is astounding to think that 1 in every 4 women is abused. I had never thought about it like that. Look around you. One of every four women around you. (Obviously not actually the women sitting there necessarily). My sister and I ran together. There were three women we were with along the course. The ones who helped me over the wall. We ran beside them, all five of us pushed shoved and grabbed each other over the A frame wall. We laughed, high-fived, physically pushed, and supported each other. We finished together. Three of them, two of us. Holding hands as we crossed the finish line. I did not want to finish running that race. I wanted to walk. They pushed me.
It was after the finish line that one of them broke down in tears. She hugged us both, long and tight, and then the three of them were willing to take the finish line photo with us. (I purposely omitted this photo because I did not get their permission to post.) We did it together. We finished together. The reason for her tears is unknown. I remember at mile one she hugged the mile one marker and was relieved to be there. At the A frame wall she literally grabbed my leg and shoved me up. As we ran and did obstacles together there was a sense of “this is more than a race”.
I am eight days out from the race, I have bruises everywhere that I have been hiding all week. I received them jumping over walls, climbing ropes, and just going all-in on all of the obstacles. I need to hide these because I am worried they could be a sign to my students parents or to others at work that I am being abused. I am not. I am fortunate. I do not have to hide bruises every day of my life.
One in four.
One out of every four women are victims of domestic abuse.
One out of every four women HAS A NEED to hide bruises because she fears for her life.
Know your friends
Know your family
Don’t let someone you love suffer as one of the four.
Find out more at Futures Without Violence
and find out more about the race at Mudderella