Tonight's special guest is Kelli Benis from Alberta, Canada, a survivor of sexual abuse and the author of the new book "Shredding the Shame: Healing Childhood Abuse." Kelli was born in Calgary, Alberta and grew up in Lethbridge, Alberta, where she currently lives. Raised by loving parents, she was the younger of two children and was sexually abused by her grandfather from the age of four until twelve. Cloaked in the silence of shame, she kept her secret for twenty years before she was able to find the courage to tell her immediate family in an effort to ensure her children would not be exposed to her abuser. It would be another twenty years before Benis was able to tell her story to the world—fuelled by the inspiration provided by attending the Victor Walk on May 23, 2013 on the steps of Parliament Hill with Theo Fleury, the former NHL player who is also a survivor of childhood abuse. Benis is passionate about inspiring others to come forward and find their voices in the hope of raising awareness about this issue, which thrives in an atmosphere of silence. She continues to seek out opportunities to share her story so that others may also enjoy living their lives free from the shackles of shame. She is motivated by the heartfelt belief that the more we connect with each other through our adversities and support each other in overcoming them, the more connected we will be as a community. As the Amazon.com web site says of her book, "Finding her voice in a refusal to allow a painful past to hinder her future, she became determined to inspire others to do the same," and notes that Kelli, "savors the freedom of ending the secrecy and elevates the conversation to inspire the other '1 in 3 females' and '1 in 6 males' to take steps towards healing and empowerment."
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