Rape and domestic abuse survivor stands up, speaks out to empower others in Northeast Ohio

Updated: Oct. 8, 2018 at 8:29 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. One local woman lives to tell her story and how she turns her traumatic experiences into healing.

Ruth Johnson-Williams didn’t tell her parents until her early 20′s about having being raped at 13 at gunpoint, and gang raped in a scheme set up by her boyfriend when she was 15. After getting married, she spent 13 years in a domestic violence situation. She has turned her tragedy into a testimony that she takes to churches.

“We have well over 350 churches connected with our organization, 272 advocates. Some churches have as many 22 advocates depending on how large it is. Then we educate on nine topic areas so that people will know how to professionally assist a person who is experiencing sexual and or domestic violence.”

Johnson-Williams says domestic violence is everybody’s business. Her new mantra: “if you see something, say something and do something.” She’s advising victims of domestic and sexual violence to tell their stories when they’re ready, to call 211 for help and to be a support network for others. Her nonprofit organization, Pneuma Life Foundation, is partnering with several groups for the Walk-it-Out event on Saturday, Oct. 20 at Planet Fitness at 4601 Northfield Road in North Randall beginning at 8 in the morning.

Also on CW 43 Focus, Terry Maynard, Chief Operating Officer for 100 Black Men of Greater Cleveland, talks about the importance of teaching Black boys survival techniques whether in their communities and or when being confronted by police.

“We’ve been spending a lot of time on police brutality and trying to teach our kids what to do in scenarios where they might be encountered by the police. That’s most of the work we’ve been doing over the last couple of years. We do a lot of work around the 3rd grade reading guarantee. We do a lot of reading and tutoring with kids in local elementary schools,” he said.

Among the co-founders of the 100 Black Men of America, Baseball Hall of Famer Jackie Robinson. Since the late 90s, the Cleveland chapter has been continuing the mission of mentoring boys.

You can see all of CW 43 Focus with host Harry Boomer and his guests Ruth Johnson-Williams and, Terry Maynard, online at Cleveland19.com. on our Roku and Amazon Fire apps and on air Sunday morning at 6:30.

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