Monday, April 30, 2012

A Bit O' Sunshine: An Interview with an Adult Victim of Child Abuse #vetoviolence

A few years back when I first began blogging, I came across Ruth Cox of A Bit O' Sunshine through a social networking group.  Immediately, I was interested in who this woman was who chose her online presence to be abitosunshine and began to follow her.  Who was this woman who wanted to spread sunshine around the internet?  As I read, I learned that Ruth is an incredible woman who has suffered from the absolute worst thing in the world...child abuse.  Yet Ruth has taken a stance to leave it behind and create her own identity, not one as a victim, but one as more than a survivor.  She has made herself into an advocate to stop the violence.  

Ruth was kind enough to allow me to interview her and share her her story.  Her story is sad, but powerful.  For in it, we can all learn about protecting all our children and putting an end to abuse.  As Child Abuse Prevention Month ends, our efforts should not.  Thank you, Ruthi, for who you are and all you do!

Tell us a little about yourself. I love your online presence as “A bit o’ sunshine.” Why have you chosen that?
It began way back in 1999 when I first came online. Within just a few weeks of getting my first computer I was ready for a personal web home of my own. I created a free site and named it "Here Comes the Sun." I immediately began spreading a bit o' sunshine all over the web with everyone I met, including within web groups I became a member of and, of course, through the sharing of my poetry writings. My nickname in most online groups was Sunshine or some form thereof and remains so with most of my online activity, as well as offline. Ruthi aka abitosunshine is the true me! (But never forget that sunshine can burn your ass…ets!)
When I decided to set myself up a website under paid hosting I chose the name "abitosunshine" as it was unique and captured the spirit of my online activity and the fact that I truly believe that no matter what our life storms ... a bit o' sunshine can always be found peekin' out o' the clouds.

I understand that you are an advocate for abuse prevention. Can you share a little bit more about what happened in your life that put you on this path?
I generally answer this question with … Born and bred unto the pain of poverty and abuse … The phrase begins the facts of my life. Name a form of abuse and I have lived through it or a loved one has experienced it. Ultimately, my mother lost her life to the demon of domestic violence; beaten lifeless by the man she was married to at the time.

How does an abused child/adult feel?
Like she has done something horribly wrong and the whole world has turned its back on her, against her. She feels as though even a whisper of a prayer disappears into thin air; as though her cries are despised, by man and by god. She will spend a lifetime trying to find the life and love that was stolen from her. She may, she may not, fare well. Always she will believe in the heavens for she knows for a fact there is a hell.

Many times, abuse victims remain victims and often end up being abused again. Can you share how you have been able to leave the victim behind and become a survivor? Was there someone who helped you?
Yes, probably more often than not, a child of abuse will fall victim again as an adult. And one who has fallen victim to an abusive relationship may find themselves in yet another abusive circumstance; often times one after another. The cycle of abuse is difficult to break, but can be broken. One must reach that point in the road where it’s either flatten the tires or slam on the breaks time. I am a firm believer that the victim must make the decision to walk out on abuse. Period.
It wasn’t until I took total responsibility for my abuse that I was able to start walking on the path of a survivor. And trust me, I needed training wheels for years.
Help? Sure, many helped; many did not. Those who did, I will be forever thankful for having them in my life. And to some of those who helped over the years, it may have appeared to them that I was thankless … as often I would disappear back into the darkness of the only thing I knew … abuse. But each time I was fortunate to come to terms with the repetitive behavior a little sooner than the last. Eventually … now … I can honestly say I have walked out on abuse and will never ride that road again … in any form.

What do you think society as a whole needs to do to address child abuse and domestic violence?
Hear the cries of the children! (And remember, some tears are shed silently.) We must listen carefully and compassionately.
Children begin learning at birth. What, pray tell, are abused children learning? What they learn by being abused or by witnessing abuse will stay with them for a lifetime. Each of us must take responsibility for what the children of the world are being born and bred unto.
We must teach the children well. And we must teach the parents, and the parents-to-be, well. Knowledge is the key to the power of abuse prevention.

What can individuals do to make a difference?
Awareness. Make yourself aware of the many forms of abuse and domestic violence. Stand against the demons of domestic violence. Arise Against Abuse.
Do not turn away from the cruelty unleashed upon others or you may hold yourself responsible when life is smothered.

How can schools make a difference?
Schools are made up of many individuals of society. Schools are made up of many abusers and their victims. Again, we must take a stand against abuse – at school, anywhere, everywhere.

How can someone help a victim of abuse?
Do not turn away from the outstretched hand or the whimper of a victim of abuse. Listen, observe, and support in any way you can. And if you personally cannot help, then find help! Report abuse, anonymously if you must, but don’t just walk out on someone in need.
The number to call: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)

Is there any message you would like for my readers to know?
Yes, my Facebook Timeline photo tells all:
And that will lead you to more of my story:


Samantha said...

it's great that she is so outspoken

Ruth Cox said...

Ann, I know this month and its designation as National Child Abuse Awareness has taken on a whole new pain in your heart with the murder of your dear friend and child advocate, Chris.

It is often difficult for some to fathom that for those who "survive" abuse the demon steals a part of their life too; thus, they are victims--first and foremost. The one who took your friend's life is an example of such (in my opinion).

I pray we find a way to stop more of the violence and abuse--before it starts--so that some may become the living souls they were intended to be.

Bless you and thank you for this interview to further the fight against abuse. You have my blessings and a bit o' sunshine!

Real Life Deals said...

What an amazing story. And a special opportunity to share this with us. Thanks!

NSB Mom said...

AWESOME! Great post. You are doing a wonderful service by posting this. I am sharing.

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