Army vet who was sexually assaulted finds healing through running

NEW BERN, Craven County - A U.S. Army veteran and Marine spouse battled for years to move on after she says she was sexually assaulted twice while serving her country.

Catherine Bane says the #MeToo movement where sexual assault victims are taking to social media is making more people aware of the problems faced by so many. For Catherine, she found her healing before this movement started, and she found it in a place she didn't expect.

I'd always loved running. I've always loved being active," said Army veteran Catherine Bane. "When I go out and run, I don't think about anything. I just go and you're at your own pace."

So it was no surprise when Catherine decided to run a half marathon.

"I just said I know running works for me as far as dealing with a lot of the stresses in my life so I said let's challenge myself and set a goal, and 13 miles just seemed like a great goal," said Catherine. "It was during that training with those longer runs that things started to come to surface."

What started to surface during Catherine's peaceful runs were anything but peaceful. "My experience in the Army, I was sexually assaulted twice on two different occasions," explained Catherine. She reported the first assault, but says she was too discouraged to report the second. "I think just a part of me died inside after that situation... that experience for me was very difficult to handle. I didn't know where to go for help. I didn't know what to do," described Catherine. "I went many, many years ignoring it. I put up a lot of walls."

But Catherine started bringing down those walls and finding help, in of all ways, through her running. It started with a race put on by Hope for the Warriors. "At the finish line, everybody is just cheering each person on. It's just such a wonderful journey and I tell my kids, one step at a time and you'll get to that finish line," said Catherine.

And step by step, Catherine moved toward her finish line of recovery. Hope for the Warriors provided counseling, friendship and retreats. Catherine said, "They opened me up to drawing and journaling, things that never came naturally to me. And at first I was hesitant but it has been things that have truly helped me."

"It's a journey, just like life, and you can take this expericence and you can take hope and you can take the people that you meet and create another family," explained Jenna McDonald, the Sports and Rec Coordinator for Hope for the Warriors. It's that family through Hope for the Warriors that now gives Catherine hope, along with the marathon of support she receives from her husband and kids.

"I can sit here today and tell you I feel like myself again, and it's the greatest gift to be able to feel whole and feel I'm truly living the joyful life that i was living before any of it happened." Catherine said it took the combination of her husband's help and support and the programs Hope for the Warrior offers to get her to the place of healing she is at today. She has now gone on to run several half marathons and even the Marine Corps Marathon twice.

Hope for the Warriors offers a number of programs for active duty military members, veterans and their spouses. Click here to learn more about Hope for the Warriors.

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