Tonight's special guest is Kimberly Toth-Lajzer from North Carolina, an Art Instructor at the North Carolina School for the Deaf in Morganton who runs a program described at Art4aPurpose.Org. She's also the author of a new series of books using Art to help children connect to their feelings, emotions and instincts about sexual abuse. She grew up in what she describes as a "typical, wonderful, normal household," her father a firefighter, her mother a homemaker. The four kids enjoyed a solid middle class upbringing. At least that's how it appeared on the outside. But behind closed doors things were different. "We constantly fought. My father and I got along like oil and water. My parents were Alcoholics, and my dad loved to keep my mom sedated. I thought the emotional abuse, neglect, and occasional physical abuse was all I endured. I was proud of myself the night I finally stood up to him. I stood nose to nose to him even after he flipped over the kitchen table." Escaping the family by going off to college, she quickly established a tumultuous relationship. "We went 5 years without speaking." She married and moved to North Carolina at 23, an instant family in tow. Years went by before a series of memories started coming back. "I was 43, working with a special needs boy that found my body voluptuous. That was the end of my denial." There was no turning back. "My husband looked at me and said, 'For the first time in our lives I finally understand you.' And he helped Kimberly me get help. She went through counseling, and began to use her Art to survive. "I was trying to figure out the implications of my sexual abuse, I did not want it to have happened in vain. I began focusing on how I could use my experiences to make a positive difference."
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