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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 716

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Bill Murray

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Tonight's special guest is Tonier "Neen" Cain from Maryland, child abuse and neglect survivor who's produced a documentary "Healing Neen" where she explains how she endured the trauma as well as the consequences of abuse .. addictions, homelessness, and mental health issues. She was repeatedly told that she was worthless and would never amount to anything. Neen had been beaten by her alcoholic mother, who lost custody of Neen and her siblings and was placed in foster care until a cousin provided a safe home. But the traumatic childhood experiences were too much to bear. She married as a minor and subsequently had five children. For nineteen years, Neen lived under a bridge, in a jail cell, and on crack cocaine. Tonier Cain had 83 arrests, with charges ranging from prostitution to possession, and she was convicted 66 times. She was unable to care for her four older children. As an inmate, Neen felt helpless and hopeless, and resigned herself to a life time in a jail cell. Neen says she was humiliated, medicated, raped and beaten, but felt safer than on the streets. The documentary explains how prison exacerbates trauma. Woven between the lines of Neen's story is the urgent call to action: that providing trauma informed treatment can reduce the cycle of destruction and increase the potential of people who have been abused. A therapist told Neen what she needed to hear to plan for a fulfilling future. Neen's behavior was not an indictment of her worthlessness but was a reaction to what had been done to her as a child. As Neen says, "As long as there is breath there is hope." Rather than being homeless, she is a homeowner, a public speaker, an advocate for victims, and is raising her daughter with love and dignity. -- written by Lynn Tolson

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