I just met such a cool person sitting in cafe in Ubud, Bali - Indonesia. I've been coming to this cafe because they have really delicious coffee, good wifi, air-conditioning; a perfect environment to blog write and prepare the next country of the journey (Sri Lanka).
I've been a bit stuck with the writing and always finding some sort of excuse to put it off. Also had a load of questions buzzing through my mind on how to move forward with my website and how to use it to help finance the project. It's just early days for Footsteps To Inspire (formerly know as ProjectBRA) but I can see that it is already making a huge impact.
The one big thing it is highlighting is how much silence and shame exists on the topic of sexual violence around the world. Women and men want to see change. They want to get help but quite simply they can't. The need is huge and there are no funds available to help these women, men and children. A quarter of the world's women will experience sexual violence in her life. A sixth of the world's men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. And if we look at children those figures just get worse. According to World Bank, rape and domestic violence pose a greater risk to women between 14 - 44 years old than cancer, car accidents, war and malaria. Just sit and think about this one for a minute.
Back to my awesome conversation at this cafe in Ubud. Jessica, who is from the USA, and has realised that there is more to life than working 50 hours a week to make ends meat, shared so much useful advice on how I can use this blog to help make the Footsteps To Inspire journey sustainable so that I can focus on doing what is important: getting the message out there that there is life after rape. That it is possible to not only survive but thrive. That there are women and men in the world that have no access to rape kits, or medical help or counselling. That there are young girls in the world who are forced to marry their rapist because that is what their culture dictates (don't shame your family). That governments are refusing to put money into services and that we absolutely need to start funding some very basic needs.
Building content and writing about this journey is so important. Every experience I'm having, I need to see it through children's eyes...like I'm seeing it for the very first time. Because what I'm seeing is so completely different to what you or I can even imagine. The world deserves to know what is happening out there. Rape survivors have a right to have access to medical, legal and counselling support. They have a right to heal. They have a right to break their silence.
Thanks Jessica - you inspired me today to write this and make it the start to a very active blog moving forward.
My time in Bali is wrapping up. Some more dialogue with NGOs tomorrow and Tuesday morning. Then I'm off to run the shores of Sri Lanka.
Peace, harmony, laughter and love xx
Read more about my story here