Jenn Gibbons, founder and coach of Recovery on Water, rowed into Chicago on Tuesday to complete an emotional 1,500-mile trip around Lake Michigan.
During the two-month cancer awareness trek, Gibbons ran into trouble when she was sexually assaulted aboard her boat in Michigan's Upper Peninsula nearly a month ago.
"My trip didn't go exactly as planned," Gibbons said upon her return, "but I accomplished everything I wanted to accomplish. I still think there's more good people in the world than bad."
On July 22, while in an area south of Gulliver along Lake Michigan in Schoolcraft County, Mich., Gibbons told authorities that a man had boarded her boat and assaulted her. According to police, it's possible that Gibbons' attacker traveled a significant distance, perhaps following her on the Internet.
While the sexual assault delayed her travels only momentarily, Gibbons resumed her journey again shortly after the attack by biking 500 to 700 miles along the shoreline to make up for lost time.
After the assault, alternate plans were also made to ensure her safety in Michigan's more remote areas. Her location was kept from the public and she also traveled with a "pit crew" functioning as part road assistance and part security detail for the remainder of the trip.
Supporters greeted the 27-year-old as she rowed into the harbor at the Chicago Yacht Club. While speaking to the public, she acknowledged that she has a lot of healing ahead of her and said she hasn't fully come to terms with the prospect of becoming a spokeswoman for victims of sexual assault.
"I've been an advocate for exercise and breast cancer for years, I feel very comfortable being that person. This is talking about something I don't necessarily know how to talk about yet," she said.
"It's really hard to share all of the really good things and all of the really bad things that happened because you open yourself up, and you are extremely vulnerable to what people are going to think about you," she added. "I have a lot of healing to do, a lot of things I need to dig into."