Tonight's special guest is Aleah Ozbirn from Tupelo, Mississippi, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse who's now an activist and author, starting an effort called Ending the Shame to empower parents to stand with their children when sexual abuse is disclosed and keep fighting even when it seems endless and pointless. Aleah says, "My daughter would also inspire our program for our 'Comfort Pals' that we send to children for those times they must testify alone in big court rooms." Proceeds from their book 'Adopting Cleo' help fund this program. Her story informs her current work. "At the age of six I was sexually abused by a childhood friend, a friend that I would later find out was also being sexually abused by a man she trusted." But that wasn't the end of it. "I would later be abused again by my aunt's boyfriend at the age of 14." That continued until she went to live with her father. She met a man at 28 whose young daughter was being sexually abused by her birth mother's boyfriend. "This is when I would learn my maternal instinct for protecting my children was strong. We would spend 4 years fighting for her safety." It was an expensive experience in more ways than one. "We spent thousands of dollars in legal fees and now we are on the path to recovery." But, Aleah reports, it also came with unexpected benefits. "It was seeing her struggle with her own shame that I would see the need for us to empower our children."
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