Why I Walk: Rachel Martin

Rachel Martin, a senior at USC, guest blogs this week to let us know why she participates in Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, and the power the event holds in the process of healing and hope for survivors in our community.

My name is Rachel and I am a survivor. I am a survivor of growing up in the South where I was taught to act like a lady and go to church every Sunday. I am a survivor of making it through four challenging and life changing years at the University of South Carolina. I am also a survivor of sexual assault. Two years ago I auditioned for the Vagina Monologues and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made my entire college career. Not only did I meet fantastic, strong, and inspiring women from all walks of life, I also realized events in my life were not normal occurrences. Last year, with my Vagina Sisters, was my first time participating in Walk a Mile. I wore a white sash and stood with my friends as an ally and secondary survivor. This year, I don a teal sash as someone who has come to understand parts of myself that I was not aware of before. I am walking this year to raise awareness of the commonality of sexual assault. I am walking not only to support my friends and other survivors but to also gain the support I need for myself. I am walking to show our community that I stand with everyone else participating in saying “no more” to sexual violence. I am walking to complete a step in my own personal healing process as I overcome the struggles and hurt that accompanies being assaulted. I am not a victim of sexual assault, I am a graduating senior at the University of South Carolina and I will continue to survive the curveballs and obstacles life throws at me.

Rachel is a senior at the University of South Carolina where she is pursuing her bachelor's degree in WGST. After graduation, she plans on moving to Alaska for a year where she can gain more experience working with rape survivors and in crisis intervention. She also plans on pursuing her PhD in something related to women's and gender studies and hopes to continue putting forth effort to end sexual violence across the country.