The effects of early childhood abuse can alter the course of a person's life, often in destructive ways.
For Ron Bilton, what he endured as a young boy drove him to overcome his trauma. He somehow managed to use his experience as a way to move forward and eventually help others.
Bilton became a national champion fighter, representing Canada on an international level. He's also a police officer who has spent his life working to protect those who are unable to defend themselves.
"One Piece of a Life" by Ron Bilton (Karen Armstrong Design)
He is about to launch the book, One Piece of a Life
, a story about the resiliency of the human spirit, full of lessons for victims, parents, teachers, social workers and others who are challenged by the responsibility of grappling with the effects of abuse.SCENE
asked Bilton to explain how he found the strength to conquer his abusive past:
At a young age I was the victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by a skillful sexual predator who had managed to ingrain himself in a position of trust within our family.
Ron Bilton on right (Kathy Hudson)
At about the same time I was introduced to Taekwondo and almost immediately it became my lifeline. The martial arts philosophy teaches practitioners about the mind-body connection. If you strengthen your body, the mind will follow.
I must have on some level understood this as a boy and made the connection. I became almost obsessed about developing my skill and I could see immediately that it would help me endure the abuse I would be subjected to for the next few years.
In a way maybe fighting became symbolic. If I could develop myself to such a level, my abuser might stop...fearing I would destroy him because of my combative skills.
Although it did not play a role in me processing what had happened to me as a kid it did teach me to persevere. I became a national champion and went on to represent my country around the world.
At the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis when I walked out during the parade of nations in front of 100,000 people, I knew at least at that point I had conquered the effects of my abuse, at least for the
Author Ron Bilton (Ray Hope)
It wasn't until much later that my history caught up to me. With the help of a professional I was able to properly place my history into perspective.
Writing this book was part of that and it was proof that I had moved well beyond just surviving. I think my book has the potential to help others that may have experienced trauma themselves. Ron Bilton is a Patrol Sargeant and Wellness Officer for the Winnipeg Police Service. He launches One Piece of a Life on Thursday August 29, 7 p.m. at McNally Robinson Booksellers.