(December 18, 2013) -- Meet Jen Shipe: She’s a survivor of sexual violence and the creator of RAINN ‘EM IN  — a human-powered horse race to support survivors of sexual violence. This holiday season, Jen’s asking for your help to ensure that no survivor has to go it alone.
“RAINN sits on the frontline for survivors everywhere,” says Shipe. “RAINN staff are some of the first people that survivors will share their story with. And that work is so crucial and so important.”
Shipe was sexually assaulted the summer before her freshman year of college and kept the assault a secret for 15 years. She hid the pain by burying herself in her studies at Penn State University and by forming meaningful relationships with people she now considers family. “They healed me without knowing it”, Shipe said of her friends, but it was fear and shame that kept her silent until 2011.
"When Sandusky's story hit, it really rocked me … It was an unexpected trigger," Shipe told ABCNews.com . "I remember sitting in my house watching Sports Center, the Saturday morning ritual of a Penn State fan … I cannot even describe the range of emotions." And so, pushing aside fear and grief, Shipe knew that was “pivotal point where I said it's time to do something.”
Using her background as a creative producer, Shipe worked with her friends and family to launch what she calls “a movement, steeped in love, compassion, hope and courage.” RAINN ‘EM IN, a derby inspired event first held in May 2012, encouraged teams of people to race inflatable horses to raise money for RAINN. Since then, the events have raised funds to help more than 5,000 survivors get the help they deserve through RANN’s National Sexual Assault Hotline (1.800.656.HOPE).
In a video message to supporters this holiday season, Shipe appeals to supporters:
“So I encourage you: join our fight. This holiday season, consider making a contribution to RAINN to help fund the hotline. A little bit can go such a long way in helping a survivor reclaim his or her life. And what a beautiful life that is.”
To learn more about RAINN ‘EM IN and get involved with an event near you in Spring 2014, visit: http://www.rainnemin.org/ .