From Child Victim to Adult Advocate: How Fitness Helped Me Help Others

CAAM PosterMany of you who have read my writing know about my strong connections to the domestic violence and child abuse awareness field. For those of you who may not, I will give a quick history lesson. After a domestic violence incident in my childhood escalated and led to the involvement of a firearm, I stayed at a domestic violence shelter for four months and my life as I knew it was changed forever. I went on to work for the same organization I stayed with after high school and I currently work as a child advocate here in my hometown of Lewisburg, WV and as a public speaker to educate others about the issue and work to create change that helps victims in the future.

“That’s great, dude, but this is a bodybuilding and fitness blog. Why are you sharing this here?”

Good question. What if I told you that my passion and commitment to my fitness goals helped lead me to my success and work in the DV/CA field? Many people never would imagine there would be a connection between the two very different fields but I assure this will make sense.

While growing up in my personal situation, I was also being bullied in school and had zero self-confidence in myself. I was scrawny, non-athletic, and had no luck with girls whatsoever. No one would let me play basketball with them, other kids would scoot their desks away from me, and the bus rides home were the worst part. I literally had nothing I could proudly hang my hat on in terms of self-worth. That all changed for me when I was a 17 year old high school senior and discovered weight training. There was something about hitting the gym and doing something good for myself. Then the results started to show and my confidence finally started to develop. After a few months I felt like I had a whole new outlook on life.

By this time, I had graduated and needed to either go to college or find a job. I chose to find a job and help support my family for a while. There were jobs around me in fast food, landscaping, and stocking shelves, but I felt like I needed a challenge. There was something else out there for me and I needed to find it. That was when I found out the DV shelter I stayed at was hiring a clerk. Although it was a small role, I felt like I could contribute to the same group that helped me a few years prior. It was a risk and only part time but with this newfound confidence I developed from adding on size and strength in the gym I felt like I could do it. I never felt that before.

Lo and behold I got the position and worked there for three years. While I was there I stuck to my program and my confidence only grew. Then something happened that would change my life again. I was asked to tell my story to a group of business professionals at a fundraiser. I was told that my story of staying at the shelter and now working for them would be inspiring. I told my story once when I was a teenager but this was different. These were professionals and I was going to be up there by myself. I was a nervous wreck. I was about to bail when one of the advocates I worked with spoke to me for a minute before I was to take the microphone. She asked me if I would have reached my goals in the gym if I bailed on the first workout. Obviously that answer was no I wouldn’t have. So I took a deep breath and slowly walked up and began to speak. Before I knew it I was finished and not only did I get a standing ovation but the organization got a great donation. I was told I had a future in public speaking if I worked at it.

So the experience and confidence I got from working out helped me in a totally different aspect of my life. I found out later on that it would help me in every aspect of my life in one way or another. Now fast forward to present day. My recognition as a fitness writer helps increase awareness of DV and child abuse because I can reach a group of people that normally would not be targeted for events like Child Abuse Awareness Month. On the other side of the coin, I can show victims of CA and DV when I speak that not only can they become survivors like I have but they can go on to help others and reach their own major goals and dreams. Since that first event so long ago, I have spoken to thousands of people and taken part in major events for DV and CA awareness in my home state of West Virginia. It is a very unique position to be in and I take great pride to doing both the fitness writing and the awareness speaking.

Now I hope that after reading this you have a better understanding of why I work so hard to increase awareness of child abuse and domestic violence. More importantly, I hope that you realize that you can make a difference in a child’s life by learning more about child abuse and how you can help. Who knows? Some kid you help today may go on to inspire thousands of people when they grow up. Go to www.childandyouthadvocacy.org or www.wvcan.org to learn more.

About the Author
Roger “ROCK” Lockridge is a writer whose work has been seen all over the world. He is most known as a writer for Iron Man Magazine and Bodybuilding.com. In 2009, he was named Bodybuilding.com Male Writer of the Year which along with the Female award is the highest award for writers in the bodybuilding/fitness world.

Roger is also known for his work against child abuse and domestic violence and he was featured as a part of the domestic violence documentary “30” as the only child survivor and the only male survivor in the film.