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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 1348

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Bill Murray

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Tonight's special guest is John Gerrard from Lineville, Alabama, a rape survivor who was sexually assaulted while in prep school. John grew up in New York City in a struggling lower-middle class Catholic family and spent his formative years in Brooklyn in what he describes as "typical dysfunctional tenement living." There was a lot of corporal punishment during his 12 years of Catholic education. The worse experiences occurred at Saint Francis Prep which culminated with his being first befriended, but then violated and raped, by Brother Michael Moran, the principal. "It was the most horrible experience in my life," John says. "I laid there in shock, drugged .." When he saw Brother Michael later he wanted to vomit. "I had an overwhelming sense of despair and powerlessness." In adulthood John floundered but eventually found a career as a New York City firefighter despite heavy drinking and drug use. "I drank and drugged to forget, and the only place I ever felt I belonged was in a burning building." In 1988 he sobered up, ".. after having near heart attacks, guns in my face, blackouts, paranoia, and a state of spiritual bankruptcy where death would have come as a welcomed friend." He goes on, "The next 27 years have been an odyssey of self-examination and spiritual awakening." Today he counsels addicts on a volunteer basis in his community. "I hope to help others with my story," John says, "and plan to use all my power as a citizen to pursue legislative and systemic changes to protect children from future abuse through speaking, writing, film, social and traditional media. I stand with all victims to change the personal narrative from one of victimization to survivorship and advocacy."

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