Tonight's special guest is Tom Livingston from Arizona, a new NAASCA family member telling his story for the first time. Tom is a survivor of severe physical abuse and witnessed frequent domestic violence by his alcoholic father who also sexually abused all four of his sisters and at least two girls outside of the family. Although his father did not molest him, Tom was scarred by seeing first-hand some of the sexual abuse of his sisters, and he was treated inappropriately such as being given magazines, alcohol, exploiting him through hard labor, and with sexualized conversation. When he was 11 years old an incident happened changing everything. Tom says, "my father was out of his mind drunk and was going to kill all us kids with a shotgun." Tom's oldest sister snuck them out in the middle of the night going to their mother's work and giving an ultimatum: leave with us or never see us again. As a teen Tom lived between several family members homes. He started using drugs and alcohol at the age of 10, dropped out of high school, and was arrested several times for juvenile misdemeanors. By age 26 he decided to change his behavior to start a family, "I didn't want my son around drugs and violence like I had growing up," Tom says, "I’ve been forcing it by focusing on being a different man than my father was, but it’s been a constant struggle." Tom's wife is also a survivor, “sometimes that has been a challenge, but we have empathy for each other.” Now at 47 years old, "It has been a rough road and I've seen the effects of abuse on all my family and my wife's family when some have talked about things and others don't deal with it or talk about it. I don't think keeping the secrets works, and sharing my story now is a big step of my own recovery.
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