Rising Strength at Miles and Stockbridge


Yesterday, we had an awesome day at the law firm of Miles and Stockbridge! I shared the story behind Rising Strength and LeCarlo Beaty taught a self-defense course to the female lawyers who work there. We reviewed basic self-defense and situational awareness. Thank you, LeCarlo, for again teaching a great and fun course!

I can’t thank my dear friend, Beth Koloup, enough for helping organize this class. Beth is a lawyer at Miles and Stockbridge and has been a tremendous supporter and advocate of both Rising Strength and Carol’s Fight. Beth is the epitome of a great friend. I could not have gotten through the loss of my mom and overcome the attack without the support of amazing friends like Beth.

Thank you, Eddie, for always being so encouraging and supportive!

Self-Defense in St. Michaels

1 in 6 women in America will survive an attempted or completed rape. 1 in 87 women in America will take a self-defense class.

Thank you to the women who braved the snow on Saturday to attend the self-defense class at the St. Michaels YMCA! It was a great morning with LeCarlo Beaty from Divas in Defense providing many life saving skills. We went over how to properly punch, kick and get out of holds. Thank you, LeCarlo, for your enthusiasm, professionalism and traveling over two-hours to get to the class!

We had women of all ages in attendance and received great feedback. Thank you,Tracy Cohee, for providing the space for the class and to your awesome staff for staying open in the snow storm! We will be providing another free self-defense class in the upcoming months.

Thanks, Eddie, for being the best “attacker” and photographer on Saturday 🙂

Rising Strength Farm Flow

Farm Flow

“Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise”

-Maya Angelou

This past fall, I reconnected with my high school soccer teammate Jamie Weymont after ten years of living in different states. Within moments of us spending time together it became clear that Jamie and I share a passion for connecting and empowering women. Before the day was over we had started to contemplate how we could combine our efforts.

On Saturday June 18, 2016 we held the first Rising Strength Women’s retreat, aptly called Rising Strength Farm Flow because of the beautiful farm that it was held on. I’ve been fortunate to have many incredible experiences but this past weekend will stay with me as one of the most powerful days I’ve ever had. The day was supposed to be focused around yoga, meditation and sharing the story behind Rising Strength but it became so much more when we opened the conversation in a group sharing circle. I cannot thank the women who attended enough for joining us and sharing your experiences. It was impossible to leave the day not feeling empowered by the strength and resilience of these women.

Thank you to all of the amazing women who shared their time and hearts with us on Saturday.  Thank you for making the Rising Strength Farm Flow such an unforgettable day.

Thank you to all of the amazing women who shared their time and hearts with us on Saturday. Thank you for making the Rising Strength Farm Flow such an unforgettable day.

Jamie, thank you for organizing a day that was called “magic” by more than one attendee. We are all blessed to know you and call you a friend! Thank you, Shelly for hosting us on your gorgeous farm.

Thank you, Kia for making it to this event!  So grateful for our friendship that has last long after our ETSU soccer days ended!

Thank you, Kia for making it to this event! So grateful for our friendship that has lasted long after our ETSU soccer days ended!

One of the coolest parts of the day was getting to spend time with women I went to high school with at John Carroll.  Thank you so much for coming it was beyond awesome to see you all!

One of the coolest parts of the day was getting to spend time with women I went to high school with at John Carroll. Thank you so much for coming it was beyond awesome to see you all!

1 in 6

FullSizeRender

1 in 6. That is the statistic reported by RAINN for the amount of women in America who survive an attempted or completed rape. I never would have believed this statistic until I became it on September 21, 2013. Unfortunately, every time I speak at a school or organize a self-defense class I have women and men share with me their story of abuse and rape. I was so fortunate to be able to get away from my attacker before I was raped or killed, but so many others do not get away.

Please take the time to read a powerful letter from a victim of rape to her attacker…Letter to Rapist

When I read her story, I think of how close I was to enduring the horror of rape and then having to deal with being in a hospital getting photographed and prodded while answering questions from police and having to face my family and friends after knowing that life would never be the same. I’ll never forget the look on my dad’s face when investigators told us how lucky I was to be alive. I think of that moment often and it fuels my passion to prevent this from happening to anyone else. While my heart breaks for this victim and what she has endured, I am also so proud of her for detailing her experience and putting it out there for the world to see.

I believe that we live in a country that is better than a 1 in 6 statistic. I will keep sharing my story and working to keep women safe and help survivors heal until we are better than that. Thank you to all the amazing people who are supporting me on this mission.

Upcoming Rising Strength Event

Justice in Motion

Justice in Motion

I am honored to be speaking at this year’s Justice in Motion 5k, in Jonesborough, TN on April 25, 2015. The Justice in Motion 5k is dedicated to victims of homicide, while also raising awareness of victims rights and promoting victim services for ALL victims of crimes. All proceeds of this race will go to local non-profit groups in the area that provide aid to victims.

I never thought I would be a victim of an attempted rape and murder, not because I was naive that terrible things don’t happen, but because I considered myself a pretty cautious person who didn’t put myself in bad situations. Being attacked in my home by a paroled rapist did not seem feasible in Johnson City, TN, the college town I had grown to love. I was extraordinarily lucky to have gotten away from my attacker before I was injured or killed. So many others, were not as fortunate as I was, including the two women my attacker raped several days after my attack. Please help me in honoring the victims of violence by joining in the cause of Justice in Motion.

To register or donate to the race, please click the link below. Thank you!

Justice in Motion

129

I recently went back to Johnson City, TN and went on my first run there since the day of the attack. It is believed that my attacker followed me from my morning run back to my home. After the attack, I avoided going near the street where I used to live, a mile from where I went to undergrad and grad school at ETSU. Over a year later, it felt great to be back in Johnson City and I don’t feel like the attack defines my experience there. Instead, when I go back to Johnson City I choose to see it for the beautiful place, filled with incredible people and where I have so many great memories. The attacker could not take away my love of East Tennessee.

I am very excited for upcoming Rising Strength talks and a partnership with Go Shake. As well as the second Blue Ridge Relay team. Thank you to everyone for the support of Rising Strength!

First Year

IMG_4341

“To live every day as if it had been stolen from death, that is how I would like to live.”
-Garth Stein

As I look back on the past year and all that has happened and been accomplished, it’s hard to believe that Rising Strength was only started in January. Through the support of many incredible people in my life I was able to share my story and the message of Rising Strength to students and athletes at East Tennessee State University, Emory and Henry College and Belmont University. Hosting self defense classes and running the Blue Ridge Relay provided some of the most unforgettable moments and I am so grateful to all of those who made them possible.

I cannot thank my friends and loved ones enough for the support they have and continue to pour on me as the goals of Rising Strength grow. I am very excited to start 2015 as we plan more talks, announce new partnerships and start preparing for the Blue Ridge Relay.

Huge thank you to the sponsors and supporters who made our goal of running the Blue Ridge Relay possible!
Blue Lizard Sunscreen, ETSU Athletics, Team Kattouf, Mountain Yoga, Interstate Container and Broyles Florist