Third Run Against Violence Taking Place In LSC

at the end of August

Article heading image for Third Run Against Violence Taking Place In LSC

Limestone Coast residents are once again banding together to Run Against Violence (RAV). This is the third virtual team challenge, and the Limestone Coast is participating for the third year.

Riana joined us last year, and is captaining the S.W.A.T.T. (Sprinting, Walking and Trash Talking) team this year. Riana grew up around family violence as a child, as well as experiencing domestic violence from an ex partner.

Riana’s highlight from last year was knowing that she wasn’t alone, as she had the support of the whole team behind her pushing her to achieve more. “My greatest motivation is to prove to my kids that I can do anything I put my mind to. To prove to myself that I’m still here, that I am me. I am no longer a victim but a human being striving to live my best life,” said Riana. “I joined RAV so that neither of my kids will ever have to experience what I did.”

“We have three teams entered this year, with over 30 members. It’s the largest team we’ve had so far, but there’s always room for more” said Belinda Seaman, who coordinates the local efforts.

RAV aims to use running to engage communities in family violence prevention. To use running to start conversations, share knowledge and create a safer community.

“Through my involvement with RAV, I have made many new friends. I have heard personal accounts of family violence from new friends and old. Our team grows every year, with more people looking to take a stand. Some have personal experience with family violence. Others have an indirect association. Others simply see this as a way to do their bit to help” said Belinda.
From 30th August to 17th September each team of runners will run 1,300km, to represent the distance from Broken Hill to Sydney that ultra runner and co-founder of RAV Kirrily Dear ran solo in 2017.

The route from Broken Hill to Sydney was chosen for its high family violence rate. The distance represents the 1.6 million Australian children who experience physical abuse before the age of 15*, as there are approximately 1.6 million steps in 1,300km.

Despite these alarming statistics, this is not something people talk about. Not because it’s not important, but because the victims are often made to feel ashamed, guilty or simply not believed. However once I began to speak about my involvement in RAV, things began to change.

People I had known for years told me about their history with family violence and expressed their gratitude to our team. People that I had never met stopped me on the street while I was wearing my RAV shirt to share their story and thank us for speaking up against family violence.

Over the years our team has evolved from runners who were looking for their next challenge and thought RAV was a great charity, to contain a large contingent of participants with their own connection to family violence.

Another of this year’s team members has been watching our local RAV journey from the sidelines for the last three years. She has been going through her own family violence journey, but now feels more settled in herself and ready to tell her story and take a stand against domestic and family violence.

She suffered mental and physical abuse from her intimate partner for years, bringing her to the point of contemplating suicide. After nearly being killed, she ran to her neighbours at 2am in the morning in just her pyjamas. This was her wake up call. That night, she made the decision to leave. From that moment on she started mentally and emotionally distancing herself from him. It took three years from that decision to physically leave, but she did.

Taking part in the “Small Steps for Hannah” virtual run touched a nerve. It was her second wake up call, inspiring her to reach out to other victims. Since leaving she has helped two people by telling her story and giving her support. She hopes that by taking part in RAV and telling her story, she will inspire others to leave a dangerous situation and give themselves a fresh start.

Every time the going gets tough, we remember that every step of our journey is for a person experiencing family violence. Every step is worth it, no matter how much it hurts.

If you see one of our team out and about wearing their Run Against Violence tops, please come and say hello. We’re here to speak out about domestic and family violence in our community, so help us break the silence. Keep an eye out for more updates and stories from our community.

Entries are still open and we would love you to join us. Or alternatively, how about holding a screening of the RAV documentary? Contact Belinda Seaman on 0439 081 092 or PM her on Facebook.

*Sourced from ABS Personal Safety Survey 2016.

Nationally More than 1500 Australian runners will soon take steps together to end family violence

Runners and walkers from around Australia and the world will participate in the third edition of the Broken Hill to Sydney Virtual Team Challenge starting on 30th August.

During this unique challenge, participants walk or run in their local area and then upload their distances to a website. Their data is aggregated with that of their fellow team members and participants then watch their team track across a map from Broken Hill to Sydney. To be successful, the team is required to cover 1300km in the 19 days of the challenge.

Belinda Seaman has coordinated the teams from throughout the Limestone Coast for the past 3 years. “This year we have our largest contingent of runners, with three teams and 32 members so far. But there’s always room for more. Run Against Violence is a wonderful organisation that provides communities with tools to take a stand against domestic and family violence from within their own communities. We are all proud to be running again this year.”

“The virtual challenge retraces the real-world route of the Steps Together Ultra Marathon, which I ran in 2017,” says Kirrily Dear, co-founder of Run Against Violence.

“More than 2200 people participated online in our 2017 challenge. 59% of participants surveyed said they had more conversations. 58% said they shared more stories and articles about family violence prevention. All those steps shatter the silence for people who have experienced family violence.”

Family violence is a big problem in our local communities. It is estimated that 1.6 million Australians experience physical abuse before the age of 15*.

Social barriers within our communities compound the problems for people who experience family violence. Silence and stigma make it difficult for those people to ask for help and to heal from their experiences.

Run Against Violence (RAV) is a volunteer organisation that encourages people to remove those social barriers through starting constructive and inclusive conversations. RAV supports that process through delivering awareness campaigns, community activities and sharing stories.

Entries are open until the end of the event (17th September). If you can move 10 metres or 10,000 metres a day, everyone is welcome to participate. People can enter as teams or as an individual. Contact Belinda to join a local team, or RAV will assist with placing you on a team.

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Ewan Grant

29 July 2020

Article by:

Ewan Grant

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