Tonight's special guest is Jillian Stringer Short from the Washington, DC, area, a child abuse survivor and member of our CSA Survivor Force, a group that seeks to better inform and partner with media to spread awareness. Jill is the founder of Always a Voice (www.alwaysavoice.com), a local and web-based support group, committed to providing encouragement and awareness to adult survivors of child sexual abuse (CSA) and other forms of trauma. "I was subjected to sexual abuse until I was seven," Jill says. "When I was twelve, my parents and I went to Micronesia as missionaries with Evangelism Missions Inc. I loved it!" Her abuse became a distant memory, buried and unaddressed. "Years later, still deep in the clutches of my church affiliation, I married a man who was physically abusive, with the church's backing." She goes on, "Then the unthinkable happened. I discovered my children were being sexually abused. My world crashed around me." Jill explains the lack of support from friends, especially within the church, astounded her. "We were told to forgive and honor our abuser. They strictly instructed us to be silent, even telling us not to press charges, stating that 'speaking out about our abuse gave the church, and thus, Jesus Christ, a bad name'. He only served an 18-month sentence. After his release, he was brought back into church leadership." Eventually Jill left what she calls her 'toxic church' and her marriage, and began the slow, upward path toward recovery. "My children began to truly heal. I was amazed to learn more about Child Sexual Abuse and its effects on us as adults. I surrounded myself with life-changing resources, and positive support." We're delighted to have Jill as a member of the NAASCA family.
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