Inspiring the Central Coast: Local activist and sexual abuse sur - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Inspiring the Central Coast: Local activist and sexual abuse survivor turns his experiences into lessons

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Growing up can be a real battle, especially when your home environment is not safe.     
Experts say damage to kids done by physical and sexual abuse leaves lasting marks and without help, victims may struggle for the rest of their lives.
But there are people and resources available to help and many of them understand the challenges first hand.
Ronnie Moore says the violence and sexual abuse directed at him as a child began around the age of three.
"I was abused by my mother's boyfriends, who were drunks," he says.. "and by a couple of aunts and uncles."
But Ronnie says he didn't realize the full impact of that early trauma until much later in life.  
"It didn't help that when I grew up, I immediately left high school and went to the Vietnam War and suffered shell shock over there.  I started to have nightmares.  I started to have what they call repressed memories come forward."
Statistics on child sexual abuse are staggering.  One in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually abused in the U.S., before they turn 18-years-old.
Ronnie says that legacy is often shame, despair, and depression.  
"I've tried to commit suicide. I have no problem telling you that I have suffered from grave emotional and mental disorders." 
The signs of trouble aren't always easy to spot. In fact, as Ronnie was slogging through addressing his history, his own daughter fell victim..
"He didn't take no for an answer," says Laura Moore, about a boy she dated in her teen years. 
"But you figure hey, this is my boyfriend. You're supposed to do it."
Laura says it took her quite a while to realize exactly what that meant--decades, in fact.
"Why does this matter?" I ask. "And why is it that people should spend the time and think about these things and seek help if they've been through it themselves?"
"Because it screws up your relationships," she says without hesitating.
Ronnie chokes up at the thought of what his daughter's been through.  "I felt responsible. I  wasn't there.. I wasn't there to help her when it happened."
That's one reason why Ronnie started his work with "RISE"--short for respect, inspire, support, and empower--an organization that helps people dig out of domestic abuse and get their lives back.
"Dad's life and his openness has helped me to be more open about myself," explains Laura.
"It's like grief," Ronnie adds.  "You never get over it, but you don't have to be the victim of it anymore."
If you or someone you know has been a victim of physical or sexual violence, there are resources available and "RISE" is there to help.
For more information,.. go to http://www.riseslo.org/

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