Share page on:
Why am I raising money for Mama Cash by running my first ever marathon in Barcelona? This is my story:
In the summer of 2013, as my study abroad programme in Salamanca came to an end, my life was changed overnight when my then flatmate - someone I had considered to be like a brother up until that point - decided to rape me.
It was a horrific experience that tainted my memories of a carefree, fun-filled Erasmus year. But the five years that followed were by far more painful. I’m writing this now because it wasn’t until spring 2018 that the case was finally taken to court.
I should have been happy at that point. But the painfully frustrating truth was that I had been informed of the trial so late that I was unable to appoint a lawyer to represent me in the court. Imagine that: I travelled to Salamanca with no legal counsel, low hopes and no expectations.
In the courtroom, I faced all the reasons why so many victims don’t report their rape to the police: they feel helpless, humiliated, worthless. They’re told they ‘asked for it’ by white middle-aged men. They have to relive the most horrifying moment of their life in front of a room full of strangers and the media (who later recount every disgusting detail in online articles). After being interrogated for two hours in Spanish and with little help from an inexperienced translation student, I was told to leave. As the cold courtroom spat me out onto a bustling main road, I collapsed into my friends arms, sobbing.
Two months later, I learned that the man was found guilty and sentenced to 3 years and 3 months in prison.
Soon, exactly one year after that excruciating trial, I will be running the Barcelona Marathon. Today, I feel strong and happy and empowered – thanks to the strong women, and network of friends and family, that had my back throughout this whole ordeal. But not everyone has access to that kind of support in their lives. And that’s why I’m fundraising for Mama Cash, the oldest international women’s fund, which supports women’s, girls’ and trans people’s movements around the world. They’re a driving force behind feminist activism and support more than 130 organisations, networks and women’s funds around the world. Thank you for reading.