Tonight's special guest is Leslie Jordan Clary from Reno Nevada, a survivor and writer who's produced numerous pieces on childhood sexual abuse (CSA) and is planning a book on childhood trauma. "I don't want it to be just about my own experiences," she says. "I want to focus more on empowerment and practical coping strategies than the abuse." But it's obvious Leslie will have plenty in her own background to pull from. "I was sexually abused by my paternal grandfather until I was seven, when he dropped dead of a heart attack." She says she's come to understand this as something she's very grateful for. "I believe this abuse is at the core of many of my struggles. I kept silent, and in fact suppressed the memory until I was in my mid 20s when watching my son grow began triggering memories." It caused her to look at her own life differently. "I began to do a lot of work at that time, mainly writing workshops with Ellen Bass and Laura Davis in Santa Cruz. Then in my early 30s I got married, had another child and basically pushed the abuse to the back of my life again." Her marriage wasn't a safe place to deal with such issues. For years she dealt with PTSD but didn't realize what was going on. "After my sons were grown I divorced and now in my 50s found the abuse coming to the forefront of my life again. For the past several years I've been writing a lot about it, and have begun working on a book about healing." Leslie says she recently realized she needs to share other survivors' stories. "Of course, I would never use any actual stories without first talking to the person," she says, adding she'd be willing to change a person's name, "if necessary."
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