Running for rape awareness a bid for healing too
A BRUTAL rape in France 16 years ago could have driven South African- born Claire McFarlane over the edge.
Instead, she turned to running as therapy, using runs on beaches across the world to raise awareness for rape survivors.
In July this year, the 37-year old set out to run 16km on the beaches of 184 countries over three years.
The Project Bra ( Beach Run for Awareness) campaign has seen McFarlane conquer six destinations so far, including South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
In each country, McFarlane also meets organisations helping survivors of sexual violence, and tells her story.
Speaking from Australia, McFarlane said her experience so far had been “incredible”.
“I have met so many passionate, caring people who are making a difference for survivors of sexual violence.
“I have also met survivors, women and men, some who have been able to share their stories and some who are silent observers.
“I’ve also connected with people who just want to see the world become a better place.”
McFarlane was a 21-year-old art student living the dream in Paris in July 1999 when she was violently attacked, raped and left for dead in a dark lane.
The ordeal took her to “the darkest places”, but she said running had been crucial for her healing.
“In the past 10 days I have shared my story in detail about
‘I have met
10 times and this will only continue like this. It does bring up latent trauma, but healing from rape is a lifetime’s journey.