Tonight's special guest is Dean John MacKay from Turlock, California, a survivor of child abuse that he says to this day still effects him in so many ways. "It is a pain that never goes away," explains Dean. "I thought I had learned to cover it up [but] it's only is a band-aid." Tonight, Dean will tell his story which he shares with his twin sister. "It started at the age of 4 until we were 11 in a foster home in a small town in Illinois," he explains. "It was physical and sexual abuse, and my only escape was finally getting a neighbor to see it. That most likely saved my sister's life as well as my own." Abuse among foster care kids occurs at an even higher proportion than it does in the rest of society. Other similar stats can be found among kids with disabilities, American Indian children and some who grow up in single parent inner-city environments. As Dean explains, "I had no self confidence and could not look people in the eyes. Getting close to people was hard. Isolated, I stuttered until I was 16. I experienced bed wetting until early high school." Just like with most child abuse trauma survivors there have been many consequences later in life, too. "The impact on my life as an adult was traumatic," he writes, "effecting relationships and jobs. Depression has lead to multiple suicide attempts. Although I am a survivor, the scars are still there, and the reasons why haunt me to this day." Dean still struggles with issues related to his childhood trauma. "It affects my relationship with my sister to this day," he says. "On the surface I look successful, accomplished and educated .. but the fear remains." NAASCA appreciates survivors like Dean who want to help others and share the experience, strength and hope we offer through our efforts.
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