We are reorganizing and restructuring Shatter the Silence in 2014.
Although there will not be a race in August of 2014
we will return - stronger than ever - in 2015!
See you next year when Shatter the Silence 2015
continues to shatter the silence against sexual abuse!
Race date: TBD
Race start: TBD
More than a handful of the Grunt Girls are survivors of sexual assault.
The community discovered that last year when the GGs joined
Race Director Stacy Rhea in wearing the inaugural purple shirt.
At age 8, Rhea was assaulted by a family member.
She never spoke about it until she was 21.
"For years I walked around with a dark secret, wondering why ..."
Rhea does not have the answer to that question, but with the help of
(former co-race director), Andrea Chisnell and the GGs, Rhea hopes to help
shatter the silence by educating, empowering and inspiring
others to talk and support one another.
Show your support and open the door to help support GGs
and their efforts to Shatter the Silence. A portion of the proceeds
will go the Summit and Medina Rape Crisis Center
If you are a survivor, please consider ordering and wearing your purple shirt during the event.
It is the best way to join forces and shatter the silence - together!
Shattering the Silence on Sexual Abuse
By Mary Anne Klasen
For most people, wearing a purple shirt has no significance. For some participants of Shatter the Silence on Aug. 16, it will be momentous.
The third-annual, seven-mile trail race benefits the Rape Crisis Center of Medina and Summit Counties. In 2011, race organizer and Grunt Girl Racing co-founder Stacy Rhea gave runners an
option: Select a white shirt to signify support for the cause. Select a purple one to let others
know you’re a survivor of sexual abuse and ready to “shatter the silence” attached to one of
society’s biggest secrets.
As a survivor, Rhea knows how important it is to acknowledge the past.“Opening up about what happened freed me,” she says.
“Hiding it took energy. I now share my experience in hopes that it will
Offering participants the choice to wear purple (the color of the crisis center’s logo) is one big step toward shattering the silence.
“When we offered the option of white or purple, I was surprised how
many people were willing to wear purple,” Rhea says. “Several of the
Grunt Girls stepped up and joined me. I had no idea more than a handful of the girls on the team were survivors.”
Megan Flanigan was one of them. And it wasn’t an easy decision.
Flanigan serves as mayor of Grafton in addition to working as a manager
at General Plug and Manufacturing
“I chose to wear a purple shirt because I felt it was time to stop hiding
from my past,” says Flanigan, who turns 31 on July 8 and has come a long
way since being raped in high school. “I had fought many years keeping
this to myself and in doing so I was unhappy and not facing those demons that would creep back into my life periodically.
“I have learned to own my past; it is what made me into the person that
I am today,” Flanigan adds. “Wearing the purple shirt was empowering.”
Similarly, wearing purple wasn’t easy for Zach McCardel, a 31-year-old computer programmer from Mount Vernon.
“I had no problem revealing my secret to strangers, but my sister was running the race with me and she didn’t know,” says McCardel, who was assaulted as a 6-year-old by an extended family member. “In the end, I thought it was important for people to recognize that this problem
affects men, too, and in far greater numbers than you think.”
The numbers are startling. According to statistics from the Rape, Abuse
and Incest National Network (RAINN), someone in the United States is sexually assaulted every two minutes. One out of every six American
women, and one out of every 33 men, has been the victim of an attempted
or completed rape in his/her lifetime, according to the Medina-Summit center.
Dana Zedak, director of community relations for the crisis center, says events like Shatter the
Silence are important both for survivors and for her organization.
“While going public isn’t required for people to heal, it is a good tool,” Zedak says. “It lets people
say, ‘I’m not to blame. I didn’t do anything wrong.’
“Considering the statistics, we all should become more aware of the problem, get involved and
speak up because we’re all going to have contact with a friend, a sister, a partner in our lives –
or ourselves – who is a survivor,” she adds.
Last year’s contribution of about $500 doesn’t sound like a lot, but Zedak says it’s sorely needed.
“We’re getting less and less money from grants and foundations, so we really appreciate events like this,” she says.
Flanigan, McCardel and Rhea agree that speaking out is important. They also agree that Shatter
the Silence is a great way to come together and, well, shatter the silence.
“It’s an empowering experience for survivors, but it’s also a fun, friendly, supportive environment
for all runners,” Flanigan says. “I encourage everyone to come out and run with us, become empowered by breaking your silence or come out to have a good time on the beautiful trails with really happy people.”
“It’s a beautiful trail,” McCardel adds. “They’re beautiful people. I can’t think of a better way to
spend an evening outside.”