CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — Speaking out about abuse is not an easy thing to do. But Ashton Gingerich says he wants to be a voice for others and show people that despite what you’ve been through, you can make it through.
“I really want to use this moment as a stance for anybody else to, you know, come up and speak their truth. If anything happens to them, to really seek help. It’s not your fault, it’s the offender’s fault,” he said.
Ashton, who goes by Dravin, is one of several people who survived abuse at the hands of Donavin Chipps. In February, Chipps pleaded guilty to charges of rape, sexual battery and gross sexual imposition.
But, Dravin says when people hear this story, he doesn’t want them to remember the person who committed the crimes, but instead, the ones who survived it.
“I wanted to really speak out on this and to take advantage of my feelings and stand up for the other people that might not feel the way I do. They struggle from PTSD from this, they struggle with having emotions or trust issues,” he said.
Dravin has turned to music as a way of expressing himself and an art form of healing.
“I wrote my first song and started really getting into it when I was 15 years old,” he said. “This next song that I’m releasing, next Friday, March 31, is titled Zodiac Killer, which is about all the things that I went through when I was sexually abused throughout my childhood and how it’s affecting me still to this day.”
March 31 is also the day Chipps will be sentenced.
Despite what he’s gone through, Dravin says he is more than what happened to him. Not only is he a music artist, but he is signed to several talent agencies as an actor and model and he is also a Taekwondo master.
“Another reason people don’t come out is because they’re worried about what other people are gonna think about them and you know, what their family is gonna say, especially if it’s a relative and you know at the end of the day, there are people around you that will support you and that will come with you because there are a lot of people that have gone through the things that I have,” Dravin said.
Dravin says the support he’s received from his family and close friends has helped him through some of the toughest times. He hopes speaking out will help someone else who is having a tough time as well.
If you’d like to follow along with Dravin’s journey, you can find him on Instagram and Facebook. You can also listen to his music on Spotify.