Tonight's special guest is Julie Ann Kilmer from Arkansas, a child abuse survivor and advocate who wants to shed light on problems with the legal system / justice. She's also an Authorized Facilitator / Educator at Darkness to Light. Julie Kilmer was born in Sarasota, Florida, but moved to Virginia when her divorced mother married an ambitious and charismatic young lawyer. The early days were lean buy eventually the family began to enjoy the "good-life" as the law firm became profitable. But behind closed doors the seemingly happy family held many secrets. The patriarch was often both verbally and physically abusive. Worse, her stepfather sexually abused her from the time she was eight years old until she was twelve, when she summoned the courage to report the abuse to her mother and later to church leaders. Sadly, she was denied counseling and instructed to "forgive" and never speak of the abuse again. She was forced to live a lie and pretend that this horrific thing never happened. As she grew older the emotional pain and damage never went away. Like many victims of abuse she self-medicated to numb the pain and suffered from addiction. Her life began to spiral out of control as she struggled to live a "normal" life. However, Julie's faith in God, her determination, and will to live became a significant and driving force in her life. She was able to break free from addiction and lead a sober life. She decided that she would be open about the abuse she endured as a child and her life has taken an exciting turn. She has a new passion that drives her. "I know this is what God wants me to do," she says with certainty and a smile that exudes both confidence and peace.
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