Cape May, New Jersey — A local New Jersey husband is changing the world one hike at a time. Matt Ellis’s goal is to help end child sexual abuse and bring awareness to help survivors. It’s a cause close to Ellis’ heart and led him to start the growing online movement.
An Army National Guard, Matt is very familiar with rucking. It’s an act of hiking with a weighted bag and is a fitness practice of the military. Matt began using his social media and rucking skills to spread awareness about child sexual abuse, using the hashtag #YWeRuck. The weighted backpacks symbolize the invisible weight a survivor of child sexual abuse carries, and hiking represents the journey to healing. The hashtag #YWeRuck is for the ‘Y’ in The Younique Foundation. The Younique Foundation is an organization committed to ending child sexual abuse and provides healing services to survivors.
On Matt’s 1st day hiking he placed a 45 lb. weight in his backpack and hiked for 2 miles. By day 2, Matt was completing a grueling 9-mile hike and chronicling the journey across social media using the hashtag to raise awareness. Matt began challenging his friends and family to do the same, from Qatar to the U.S., they did.
The idea to bring rucking and awareness together began over the summer in a hotel room in Florida. Matt and his wife, Jessica, were in town for her work convention. Jessica is a presenter for Younique Products. Matt heard The Younique Foundation’s founder, Shelaine Maxfield, speak at the convention. Shelaine talked about the nonprofit’s mission to end child sexual abuse and provide free healing services for survivors. It was a message of hope and a call to action. Matt was all in.
Matt stated, “Child sexual abuse thrives in secrecy and silence. The shadows of this epidemic cannot hide in the light. We all can be the light. As fathers and husbands, the message is that you’re not alone. We are in this together. Trauma is universal and real, it knows no boundaries, no gender or occupation.”
Matt’s wife is a survivor herself. She is strong, committed, and determined. Together, they came up with an action plan to spread awareness. Matt recalls leaving the hotel room that day with a purpose. Matt began rucking and sharing the journey to raise awareness. Today, his two children and wife join him on his journeys. His 2-year old adds a favorite action figure to his pack and rides his bike at times.
The Facebook group, “Honeys of Younique Upgraded Edition,” joined in the movement. They are comprised of spouses and partners of Younique Product presenters. Ky Boss, admin for the Facebook group says, “the weight in our backpacks symbolizes the weight a survivor carries.” He loves the campaign and sees it spreading across the world. Ky believes it gets the conversation going about child sexual abuse prevention and resources for survivors. He’s committed. The message is that we all can make a difference. A special thank you to Matt Ellis, the ‘Honeys of Younique,’ and everyone taking a stand to end child sexual abuse. #YWeRuck.