Two-time Olympic gold medalist Ruthie Bolton returns to The Plains to share her message with the next generation.
The Library’s Women of Auburn speaker series led Women’s National Basketball Association Allstar, two-time Olympic gold medalist and author Ruthie Bolton back to campus to speak out against domestic violence.
“It’s an honor to be back, there is always something special about the atmosphere here; it just bleeds orange and blue,” Bolton said. “It feels like home and being able to see my friends and former teammates is really something special.”
Bolton regarded Auburn as the place where it all began.
“This place helped build me, the adversity I faced at Auburn made me dig deep and work hard to achieve my goals,” Bolton said.
Bolton said she is thankful for the adversities she had to face during her time at Auburn, whether it was her time spent in the classroom or challenges she faced on the court. Bolton said these struggles taught her about herself.
After her collegiate career, Bolton took on the WNBA earning a spot on their all-star team. This eventually led to her fighting for a spot on the U.S. Women’s Basketball team and where they went on to win two Olympic championships.
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Though most people know about Bolton’s life on the court, not many people know she was in an abusive relationship for 10 years.
“I felt it was my fault, I felt like I couldn’t make him happy,” Bolton said. “My whole life I had fought, I didn’t know how to walk away. I didn’t know if victory was leaving or staying.”
Bolton said this is a sad reality many victims of abuse face, and, because of this, she uses her experience to speak out and have a voice against domestic violence.
Bolton’s message was one of self-empowerment and the power of forgiveness. Bolton encouraged forgiveness for your abuser and yourself. Bolton believed that without forgiveness there is
“Resentment will hold you prisoner and cheat you out of life,” Bolton said. “That’s why forgiveness is essential to moving on.”
This message has led Bolton to go out and speak all over the world at middle schools, universities, conferences and women’s prisons.
Bolton currently runs a program for adolescent girls called Keep Your Mighty Power. In this program, Bolton teaches girls the importance of feeling empowered and self-worth. Bolton’s presentation served as a reminder that domestic violence does not have a stereotype, encouraging Bolton to teach two critical values needed to combat domestic violence and be able to walk away from it.
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