Run­ning for rape aware­ness a bid for heal­ing too

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - SAMEER NAIK

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.

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