Run/Walk to raise awareness

14 years ago

On April 24, the Millar Civic Center was not silent, in fact, it was boisterous with sound. More than 100 people joined together to participate in the first “Breaking the Silence of Sexual Violence 5K Run – 2 Mile Walk.”     Forty-two runners and nearly 60 walkers pounded the pavement in their worn sneakers, as they ran-walked; it was hard to miss the powerful message simply stated on their black and white T-shirts. “I am running for … my sister, my spouse, my auntie, my Nuhkomoss [Grandmother], my co-worker, my brother, my lab partner, my neighbor … for someone who never told. For every 1-in-4 women. For every 1-in-6 men. I am running for change.”
Exhausted, red-faced runners and walkers were welcomed back with cupcakes and refreshments and invited to participate in the award ceremony where scrumptious, homemade cakes, many of which were donated, were given away as prizes.
Lydia Christie, AMHC sexual assault advocate, said, “Sexual violence is a serious problem in our community, and it is nice to see people rally together to generate awareness for this cause and have fun doing it. The success of this 5K opens up endless possibilities for the future.”
Along with the fun spirit of the event, the message and purpose of the run-walk was not forgotten during a program that featured keynote speaker Cheryl Williams, who moved the audience with her heartfelt words about being a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. She delivered a message of hope to other survivors and challenged members of the community to do their part in preventing sexual abuse.
The first-time event was made possible through a collaborative effort of the Maliseet Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program, AMHC Sexual Assault Services and the Aroostook Musterds Running Club. The group effort proved to be a great success that generated a fruitful result by engaging individuals and heightening awareness from Houlton to the St. John Valley, and even brought a couple from Nova Scotia.     Houlton Chief of Police, Butch Asselin and Maliseet Tribal Chief, Brenda Commander were also in attendance and walked for the cause. Jane Root, director of the Maliseet Sexual Assault Program said, “I was pleased with the turnout and due to the success of the event, we hope to do again next year.”
If you or a loved one have been impacted by sexual violence, help is available. Call AMHC’s 24/7 Sexual Assault Support Line at 1-800-550-3304 or the Maliseet Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program Hotline at 207-532-6401 for more information and support.