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Child sexual abuse victim hopes to help others

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Child sexual abuse is a serious problem in the United States and making this problem even more alarming, the American Psychological Association says, is that 90 percent of victims know their abuser.

That was the case with Kathy Sloan. She's a full-time nurse who plays the flute, paints and enjoys writing poetry.

What you can't see about Kathy is the damage she has on the inside.

This is the first time she's publicly talking about her abuse on such a large stage.  Neighbors and friends, she says, might be very surprised to know about her past. 

She's okay with that. 

She now wants to tell her story in the hopes it makes people realize how kids can't generally just "get over" sexual abuse.

"It's something more and more prevalent than you even imagine.  There are people who think they don't know anyone who was sexually abused.  Chances are, that's wrong.  I feel like if I don't come out and talk about it, then another child is not going to come out and talk about it either," explained Sloan.

Kathy sustained eight years of rapes followed by decades of shame.  Forty years and lots of counseling later, she says she is now stable mentally and emotionally, but still has some health consequences.  She also has trouble sleeping, because an occasional nightmare creeps in. 

As much as Kathy's story rips at your heart, this is not a story about her.  She'll tell you that.  It's a story about all the other kids out there now facing what she has already faced. 

She implores if you're reading this and are a parent, teach your children a lesson no one ever said to her: "If an adult ever tells you to ‘keep something secret,' that's a sure warning sign they shouldn't."

"Anybody can be an abuser," she said.  "You don't know who they are.  They don't wear signs, they don't wear T-shirts.  They look like you and me.  They look like everybody else."

If you need to report sexual abuse, or even a situation where you think a child might be suffering from sexual abuse, call 911.

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