Tonight's special guest is Elona Washington from Charlotte, North Carolina, a returning NAASCA family member. She's a mother of two, a child sexual abuse survivor and an author. "I was 5 when I was first abused," Elona says. "I was raped by a cousin, a boy my grandmother took in because his mother was on drugs." She goes on, "I was subsequently sexually abused by my best friend's brother. After a year or so, he told me, 'If a boy wants to have sex with you, you're supposed to let him.' Shortly after, all of his friends started raping me too. The kids and the adults in the neighborhood knew about it but instead of getting me help, they accused me of being a ho/slut, etc." In high school she was promiscuous, and suffered from anorexia, suicide attempts, depression, anxiety, etc. Despite having had a child at 20, Elona was still able to get a college degree. "After I graduated I worked as an exotic dancer to make the money. But, I didn't leave for 5 years. I honestly felt more comfortable in the strip club than anywhere else." Then she married, but he was emotionally abusive and after another 5 years Elona had a nervous breakdown. She sought counseling and turned her life around. She's penned several books, including 'How Divorce Became My Deliverance' and '20 Beautiful Women.' Her latest, 'From Ivy League to Stripper Life: 10 Lessons Learned,' is part one of the story of her life. "Publishing the book is scary but I realize how necessary it is," she says, "not just for survivors but to also gain compassion and understanding from people who were never abused."
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