Tonight's special guest is Mandy Smith from Portland, Oregon, a child abuse survivor, activist and writer. Her "Healing Beyond Survival" BLOG is excellent. As she says, "Any way that I can help spread awareness about abuse, count me in!" To this end she's reaching out to others, and joining the NAASCA family. But advocating for abuse victims wasn't Mandy's orginal goal. "Three years ago, I started out with a plan to write a story," she says, "a personal story about my childhood sexual abuse and it’s aftermath. By the time I had finished the first draft of my memoir, "Secrets In Big Sky Country" (due to be published in Sept 2015), I became aware that it wasn't just my story. There were many others out there with similar stories of abuse." Beginning at age three, Mandy was groomed and molested by her stepfather, the man whom she called "Daddy." At 14, when she broke the family's code of silence, she was shunned. As a young girl her search for acceptance led Mandy down a dark path where she incurred more abuse. When a brutal rape results in pregnancy, the deep love she felt for her unborn baby surprised Mandy. Plans took shape quickly for their new life together. Then, one final act of deception and betrayal by her parents sent Mandy into a four-decade-long abyss of depression, eating disorders and PTSD. But now she says, "My forthcoming memoir is the story of childhood abuse, betrayal and abandonment. But it doesn't end there. My journey has led me to a place of healing beyond survival. I especially hope that adults who were molested as children will read it and know they are not alone. I know that together, we can overcome the shame that comes from secret-keeping. Recovery and healing is possible!"
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