An anniversary of tears and smiles

·2 min read

On July 13 three years ago, Alyssa Kroeker was sexually assaulted and now, on that anniversary, she looks back at what is and what could have been. What she is now is a young, strong woman, who with help, has been able to fight back against the demons that at one point convinced her to commit suicide. But the anniversary of that time can also bring back some of the hurtful memories, that ironically give her the strength to carry on each day. This year she is on the road for the anniversary, in the Sierra Nevada mountain range on a 4,270-kilometre hike of the Pacific Crest Trail she began three months ago. “I went from being a human full of life and seeing the beauty in the world to being scared, hateful, and empty. I had collapsed. Given up,” she recalled on the anniversary day earlier this week. “Then one day I decided I was going to hike the PCT and now, three years later I’m doing exactly that. “Today (July 13) is still difficult. Today I still cried.” To the men who assaulted her she had a message on that day: “You took away my worth, my privacy, my energy, my time, my safety, my intimacy, my confidence, my own voice my life… until now.”

Describing herself as a “different person,” strong, resilient, powerful with a desire to inspire, support and love others who have suffered similarly. To those victims she has a message: “Don’t be ashamed of your story, it will inspire others. The messages I get from others saying how I helped them get out of bed that day or that I inspire them to keep fighting, keeps me going.” Part of her journey is raising awareness and money for victims, similar to the help she received and she’s not about to quit her journey. “I will keep pushing, keep walking, I won’t give up,” said Kroeker. “Giving up means giving up on me and I will never give up on myself again.” Her website is: thebcbackpacker.com

Mark Brett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Penticton Herald

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