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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 893

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Bill Murray

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Tonight's special guest is Denise Sakel from Valley Forge, PA, a survivor of child abuse who didn't remember or discover what had happened to her in her youth until she was 30 years old. She grew up in a strict Catholic family, not knowing the first thing about anything having to do with sex. "I was 14 years old when I was first going to get my teeth straightened and was very excited," Denise says. The local orthodontist started to examine her. "Something did not seem right though. His arms were going where they were not suppose to be going, his hands were not on my mouth the whole time." Although Denise was uncomfortable, she didn't know what to do. "Something was off. What just happened? I was confused. Was it me? Did I do something wrong?" She stayed quiet while she saw him over the next two years. "I did not tell anyone, especially my father .. I thought he would KILL the orthodontist. Needless to say, I did not know this was going on to countless other girls at the same time." It took years and years before the truth came out. In 1989 there was a news flash. "It was my orthodontist. Thirty-six girls came forward!!! Thirty-six!! All those years! A brave eleven year old had the courage to tell her father." The orthodontist got a slap on the hand, was told he had a disorder and left town. But for Denise the consequences of his abuse have effected her life ever since. The family doctor began prescribing mind altering drugs to handle her anxiety, and she became addicted. "I stopped being social. I didn't talk in school to anyone. My panic attacks, depression and substance abuse worsened over the years. Three marriages later, I can say I still need therapy, I still have to watch myself around pills, and I still have problems trusting people." She concludes, "It really messed with my head, but therapy helps."

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