Tonight's special guest is Melanie Jacobs-Davis from Monroe, Michigan, an abuse survivor who was a victim of rape at 7 years old and a survivor of domestic violence as an adult. Melanie is now an activist fighting against abuse. "I'm taking a tragedy and making it into something wonderful," she says, "so that everything I've been through, will not have been in vain." Melanie relates that she was unlucky in the stepparent department. Her stepmother performed unspeakable acts of verbal and psychological abuse, and her stepfather hated her. In third grade, she began spending a lot of time staying at the home of her best friend, Bessie. But unfortunately Bessie's stepfather, a large man of 280 lbs, began sexually assaulting them. This continued for a year until one night he went too far. "I couldn't keep the secret anymore," said Melanie. "I had to tell someone. I reached out to my fourth grade teacher, and she in turn notified the proper authorities." Her predator eventually accepted a plea deal and was convicted of 2nd degree Criminal Sexual Conduct with a person under the age of 12 with special circumstances. He got nine years. "The events that unfolded after that in my life were a direct result of the trauma I endured from ALL of the abuse I suffered from, not just the sexual abuse. I had zero self-worth, no self-confidence and I began using drugs regularly to escape the pain." She says "I ended up in one dysfunctional relationship after another until I finally met my ex-husband, to whom I almost lost my life". Eventually she realized things HAD to change. "I got myself sober all by myself and I fought, she says. "I fought like I've never fought before."
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