This Pro Boxer Won’t Let Abuse Have the Last Say

Sometimes, when we’re knocked down, it can feel impossible to get back up. Doubt, shame or a whole host of insecurities can make us believe that it’s better to stay facedown on the mat. But as professional boxer Heather Hardy displays, true strength is resolve; no matter the circumstance, we can always tap into it.

Heather Hardy
Heather Hardy

When she was raped at 12-years-old, Heather stayed quiet for a long time. She blamed herself and thought it safer to stay in the dark.

“Rape is one of those things that makes you feel helpless,” Heather explains, “like you can’t do anything to make it better.” So she kept her story hidden until she couldn’t anymore. Eventually growing tired of her self-imposed guilt, she stepped into the light.

“When I told someone, I felt like I took a little piece of myself back,” Heather goes on. And slowly, she’s built a career out of channeling that drive, becoming a pioneer of women’s boxing—the first female to fight on national television in over 25 years.

Her impressive career and pedestal as a role-model isn’t lost on Heather, who is also a mom. Knowing that others look up to her, little girls in particular, fills her with a commitment to champion other sexual abuse survivors, encouraging them to see beyond the burden, to choose healing and to choose to stand up. Again and again and again.

“Whenever something bad happens, you can go one of two ways,” Heather says. “You can use it as a fuel to ignite this incredible passion that you have toward something good, or you can use it as an excuse to not to do anything.”
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