PARALLEL PATHS: MY WORK IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE/CHILD ABUSE & AS A FITNESS WRITER
By Roger “ROCK” Lockridge
Many of the people that have read my writing know me only as the fitness writer and the Hardgainer success story but there is another career that I am passionate about. As a matter of fact a lot of people know me for my other line of work and have no idea about my work as a writer.
Domestic Violence (DV) and Child Abuse(CA) Awareness is something that has affected my life from childhood. As a child witness and survivor of domestic violence when I was 10 years old, my family stayed at a shelter for four months after a life-threatening situation resulted in us having to leave our home. The issues that happened on that summer night stayed with me all through my teenage years. I struggled with my self-confidence, had trouble making friends in school, and wasn’t sure where life was going to lead me when I got older.
Fortunately, two things came into my life when I was ready to graduate high school. One was an opportunity to start working with the same organization that I stayed at in my adolescence. Family Refuge Center gave me an opportunity at 18 years old to directly play a role in helping other families that went through similar situations or worse than what my family went through. Knowing I could do this was something that helped me develop that self-confidence I never was able to create before.
The next was fitness. Going to a gym, lifting weights, and working to see improvements on a frail physique that I was not proud of made a difference as well. Many people doubted that I could reach my lofty goals. My doctor told me that “I was meant to be thin because it was in the genes.” Neighbors laughed at me because I lived “in a fantasy”. That didn’t matter because the work I was doing at FRC was fueling my drive to succeed. I learned while working there that I was no longer a “victim”, I was a “survivor”. That transformation from victim to survivor motivated me to make another transformation from skinny and weak to big and strong. Come Hell or high water, this would happen.
Fast forward a few years later. After grants got cut and I lost my job, I went to college and started working as a personal trainer at a local gym. I would also go on to work for two supplement stores. I took the confidence from my DV work and the gym and applied it to developing my fitness career.
After college and leaving the supplement store, I began writing for Bodybuilding.com and serving on the Board of Directors for Family Refuge Center. Serving on the Board made me the first person in the 30 year history of FRC to have stayed at the shelter, worked on the staff, and served as a member of the Board of Directors. In a community that is predominantly female, it made a difference for a man to speak on the issues so I started speaking publicly about my experience and why I feel more people need to speak out against it. Although I was doing both lines of work, I never even thought of talking fitness at a DV event.
I spoke at an event with medical students and someone asked me to repeat my name. When I did, he turns on his laptop and shows me an article he had up on the screen. It was my article on Bodybuilding.com. Now the students give me their undivided attention because someone in their class recognized me and knew who I was. It was then I came to a revelation. These two different fields were parallel paths that I stayed on my entire adult life. Maybe I can combine my writing career and my DV work to help both careers develop.
At the end of 2009, Bodybuilding.com named me Male Writer of the Year and now I have two great achievements that gave me credibility in both fields. When I speak to fitness people, I can show them that the confidence and dedication I had toward reaching my goals helped me realize I can play a bigger role in helping people in health and life. Plus I can bring attention to an issue that they may not be aware of before in DV.
When I speak at DV events, I can show them that men can make a difference and the proof is that I have experience as a resident in the shelter, worked on the front lines as an advocate and staff member, and helped make important decisions and increased awareness as a Board Member. I also show other victims that they can become survivors and not only hope to live a normal life. They can reach any goal they want like I did by getting bigger, stronger, and receive the highest writing award in the fitness industry.
Today I not only write for Bodybuilding.com but I also write for Iron Man Magazine and, obviously, Labrada Nutrition. To be a part of a major website, major magazine, and major supplement company is something I only dreamed of and now is a reality.
I still speak at DV events but now I also work against CA by recording forensic interviews of possible victims for the Child and Youth Advocacy Center. So I don’t just speak but I also work directly on the front lines against these prominent issues that plague our society. I have been a part in helping over 400 children overcome being victims and begin the road to becoming survivors.
I write this blog because October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you reading this helped you become more aware of how prominent DV still is and if you work to learn more about what you can do to help, then this blog was a success. If you know or learn of a situation regarding DV and need help, you can call the DV Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE. If you want to know more about my story, you can check out “Full Circle: A Family Refuge Center Story” about me on my YouTube page at www.youtube.com/RogerLockridge.
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.
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