An Arklow woman is planning to run 100 km in June to raise awareness about the importance of consent in relationships and fundraise for a local cause.
Sinead Thewlis is undertaking the challenge to support the Wexford Rape Crisis Centre's drive for a new building. She has been attending their Gorey clinic for over a year and before that, she was a client at the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. Sinead was raped at 16 and said both organisations have offered her important supports.
'It was not feasible for me to travel to Dublin once I moved back to Arklow,' said Sinead.
Her partner got in contact with the Wexford Rape Crisis Centre and Sinead was able to attend counselling at their clinic in Gorey. There is currently no Wicklow Rape Crisis Centre and Sinead highlights that 'a lot of women don't have access to get support or to travel to Dublin'.
Sinead has been writing a blog, 'Off my Dotty Rocker', where she has written about her mental health difficulties, women's rights and sexual consent.
'Many people have contacted me in confidence through my blog who have had similar experiences but have never spoken about it.'
'The conversation has improved. As a society, we are talking about consent more... we are now more aware that many women and men have been in situations where consent could not be given.'
Following a period of ill health earlier in the year, Sinead started running again. She decided to set herself the challenge of running 100 km in June for the charity and to encourage greater awareness.
Sinead created the GoFundMe page which has already received great support from the community in Arklow and beyond.
'Running is a lovely way to explore the town since I moved back. It's also a way to be in nature. Getting out for the run, that's the hardest part, but if you get out, it's soul-lifting,' Sinead said.
If you'd like to make a donation to Sinead's fundraiser, visit www.gofundme.com/f/june-100.
Access to counselling and support offered by the Wexford Rape Crisis Centre is available by calling freephone 1800 330033. More information is available at www.wexfordrapecrisiscentre.com or from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre's website at www.drcc.ie.
The National 24-Hour freephone Rape Crisis Helpline is also available by calling 1800 778888.