The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia


September 29, 2013

What happens next door

There’s no specific address for victims of domestic violence


Have you done this before?

Ever been the abuser?

Ever turned a blind eye?

What was happening next door for Roger Lockridge, the child of a domestic violence survivor, wasn’t what most would expect. The now 245-pound recreational bodybuilder and child advocate remembers watching as a skinny 10-year-old what would happen to his mother when his father drank alcohol.

“I felt like, there’s nothing I can do. I can’t protect my mom. There was also this sense of not wanting what happened to my mom to happen to me.”

Lockridge perfected the art of walking on eggshells around his father, a man he says he loved, but didn’t like. As the regular altercations between his parents climaxed, the night came when he, his siblings, his grandmother and his mother were staring down the barrel of his father’s shotgun.

“He was going to kill all of us. Then he was going to kill himself.”

His father departed to dismantle the family car, to prevent anyone from escaping, and that allowed the family to call for help. This time, finally, somebody listened.

“Before that night, no one ever approached me or my mom to ask if they could help. She worked at a hospital. We had doctor’s appointments. I went to school. There were public officials who could have made a difference. We were never asked once.”

Today, Lockridge speaks out against domestic violence, with the goal of reaching children who are now where he was, interrupting the cycle. Violence may breed violence, but not if someone intervenes, Lockridge maintains.

When his family stayed at a refuge center during the process of his parent’s divorce, Lockridge overheard his case manager talking about him in a meeting.

“Basically, they were saying how they would be arresting me for the same thing my father had done in 10 or 15 years. That really bothered me.”

Yes, children are three times more likely to abuse if they’ve grown up seeing it, he explains, but only if left to figure things out on their own.

“Anybody can make that difference. They can say, ‘This is not love; this is not what people who love each other do.’ As simple as that sounds, it can be very impactful to a child.”

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