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Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN) - 1408

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Bill Murray

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Tonight's special guest is Bobbie Hepner from Richmond, Virginia, a child abuse survivor and activist. Bobbie had a rough childhood. Born in South Carolina, Bobbie's father, who was serving in the Navy, at first abandonned them. When Bobbie was a toddler her father rejoined them the family relocated to Philadelphia first, and later to Norfolk, Virginia. Bobbie says, "I don’t know exactly when the sexual abuse started or with who. I know at the age of 5 it was happening but it was not anything new to me. My uncle (mom’s brother) and father were my abusers. It continued until I was way up in my teen years." Bobbie was also physically abused. "My mother was a very strict Christian who believed in spanking. She often went beyond that though." She goes on, "I often went to church with bruises on my legs and arms." But there was no protection there "The church we attended approved. I remember more than once she would hit me over the head with a broom or mop handle." When Bobbie was in 5th grade her father retired from the Navy. He drank and became violent. She explains, "My father would become angry with me, beat me, and then kick me when I fell to the ground." The beatings only stopped when her father almost died from surgery. "The emotional abuse started as far back as I can remember. I was always compared to my brother. He was the perfect child. My sister was always told she was an accident." Bobbie's doing better now as President of VOCAL, a statewide community support network and social change movement. Their self-help education program was created by and for persons who live with conditions commonly referred to as mental health disorders.

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