Tonight's special guest is Valerie Smith from Maidstone, Ontario, who said "I was both honored and apprehensive when Deborah and Bill asked me write out my experiences of childhood sexual abuse. They are very deep, painful memories that, even now, 30 years later, are difficult to talk about. They still affect my life. However, on the bright side, I don't think that I would have become as compassionate, caring and understanding of the feelings of other's if I had not been subjected to these experiences. It is hard to say .." Like many of ur adult survivors of child abuse, she's had a lot to process in recovery. Her first abuse was being sodomized at 12 by a 300 lb man. Later she put herself into dangerous situations and, after a few more rapes, Valerie was place in foster care where her 'foster father' turned out to be a pedophile. "I have done years and years of therapy but do still feel the effects," she says. Nor has it been easy to maintain a good healthy relationship. "Obviously it takes a toll with the men in my life." Now 51, Valerie has been working as a Developmental Services Worker in Essex County. "I care for people who have either physical or psychological challenges." she says. "It is a very rewarding job." She's close to her son and her step children. "I love all my 'kids' very much." Valerie has a new perspective on things. "I consider life as a 'life-long learning experience' and seek daily to improve myself. I also try to help others in any way I am able to do. I have a relationship with our Creator, whom I know has helped me tremendously in life in order to get where I am today."
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