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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 1276

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Bill Murray

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Tonight's special guest is Mary Beth Holzwarth from Gettysburg, South Dakota, an activist who was stunned to learn her two children were being abused by an uncle at ages 8 and 5. "I started researching and was blown away by how many children are sexually abused and how few ever receive that justice," she says. "I have to give the credit to my sons, however; it is their courage and their desire to not have another child experience this that keeps me going." Mary Beth and her family live in a remote area where counselors and other experts are few and far between. "Because of this challenge, I have worked hard to learn as much as possible about what my kids feel, how best to help them, best counseling methods, coping methods, and keep a strong relationship with my sons." She goes on, "Three years ago, through several connections, I joined force with several senators and professionals and survivors and we drafted Jolene's Law. Our law was passed unanimously and signed into effect, establishing a task force to study how our state (South Dakota) is handling CSA." But she was hardly done, as similar legislation was brought to other states (California is set to bring it forward this next session). "In addition to that, I organize local public awareness events and team up with law enforcement and domestic violence shelters to hold trainings." Mary Beth concludes, "I want to offer hope for others that there are more good days than bad days now, but as we all know, this will continue to affect them the rest of their lives."

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