Tonight's special guest is Justin Hoekman from Chicago, a 31 year old child abuse survivor and NAASCA volunteer. Justin endured a childhood filled with sexual assault, physical abuse, mental, verbal and emotional traumas, and neglect. As an infant, Justin was adopted into a Christian Reform family of foster parents, and a younger sister was adopted when he was a toddler. Sexual abuse and molesting began when he was 3, and his 13 year-old cousin "played doctor" with him starting at the age 6. When he was 10 he was sexually abused by a family friend. This abuse went on for 2 1/2 years. Justin's dad physically abused him for a decade and he has vague memories of his dad sexually abusing him as well. His mother often witnessed his father's physically abuse but did nothing to stop it. Justin left the house at 17, but he'd begun using drugs to escape the reality of his home. "I have always felt less than, unimportant, and have hated myself for a long time," said Justin. "Currently, it is difficult for me to trust others. I am diagnosed with chronic depression and anxiety." But he now works the 12 step Narcotics Anonymous program, and has a wonderful therapist. "While I am no longer in contact with my parents, my sister and I remain very close. As a child when my dad was beating me, my sister was my saving grace, she would scream and my dad would stop." After working on himself for a number of years Justin's made great progress and hopes to return to school to become and LCSW, a therapist with his own practice. As he says, "I would like to help in anyway I can whether that be a child advocate, helpline, sharing my story, or anything else." He goes on, "All of the horrible things I endured I believe happened so that I may help other overcome and be a survivor of childhood abuse."
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