Hi! My name is Ellie Rudy. I’m a fourth-year journalism and women and gender studies major at UT Austin, and this summer, I’m riding down the Pacific Coast to fight sex trafficking with eleven other women from around the country. Last year, I was in a cycling organization called Texas 4000, which raises money for cancer research and support services, so you could say I have a bit of a bug for biking for a cause.
But the main reason I decided to join Pedal the Pacific was simply that, I could. I don’t plan to go into politics, intel, or social work. I don’t know how to carry out sex trafficking busts. I’m not a mental health care provider. I don’t know how to help survivors heal from their experiences.
But I do know how to ride a bike. I know how to work with like-minded young people who care about the same cause I do. I know how to be a teammate. I know how to listen to other people’s stories. I know how to validate other’s experiences. I know how to encourage fellow riders up an impossibly steep hill. And I know how to be a friend.
What I mean is, I’m not a grownup by any means. I have no idea how I could tackle sex trafficking on my own. But, alongside a dozen other strong-as-hell women, I know can at least make a dent.
But why this cause? Why sex trafficking? To me, bodily autonomy is one of the most important things a person can have. The idea of somebody taking that away, of making another person not feel at home in their 0wn skin, makes me sick. Nobody deserves that power over someone else. So, I’m riding to support survivors in the journey of reclaiming their bodies. I’m riding to support preventative measures so others never have to feel that their body isn’t their own. I’m riding because the only person somebody belongs to, is themselves. To San Diego, we go!