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In 2004, Casey Watson and her family made a decision. With their two children now grown, she and her husband wanted to do something more fulfilling. So she trained as specialist treatment foster carers - preparing to take on children who were so profoundly damaged that mainstream foster care had failed them; children for whom, often, the only alternative was to spend the rest of their childhood in a secure unit. And the Watsons were thrown in at the deep end. Mere hours after returning home from the last day of her old job, Casey was asked to consider taking her first child. And so she was introduced to Justin. Justin arrives at the Watson's house a fortnight before Christmas and it quickly becomes clear they are facing a big challenge. Try as they might to make him welcome, he seems determined to strip his life of all the comforts they bring him and throw any affection they offer back in their faces. After a childhood filled with hurt and rejection, Justin simply doesn't want to know. But it soon emerges that this is only the tip of a chilling iceberg. As a visit to Justin's mother on Boxing Day reveals, there are some very dark underlying problems that Justin has never spoken about. As the full picture becomes clearer, and the horrific truth of Justin's early life is revealed, Casey and her family finally start to understand the abuse he has endured and the pain he has suffered. And little by little Casey is able to make a connection and help him start to rebuild his life.
The story of how one little boy found the courage to survive years of physical abuse-- and how the human spirit can triumph over even the most severe of circumstances. The Pelzer family's secret life of fear and abuse was first revealed in Dave Pelzer's inspiring New York Times bestseller, A Child Called "It," followed by The Lost Child and A Man Called Dave. Here, for the first time, Richard Pelzer tells the courageous and moving story of his abusive childhood. From tormenting his brother David to becoming himself the focus of his mother's wrath to his ultimate liberation-- here is a horrifying glimpse at what existed behind closed doors in the Pelzer home. Equally important, Richard Pelzer's touching account is a testament to the strength of the human heart and its capacity to triumph over almost unimaginable trauma.
This book chronicles the unforgettable account of one of the most severe child abuse cases in California history. It is the story of Dave Pelzer, who was brutally beaten and starved by his emotionally unstable, alcoholic mother: a mother who played tortuous, unpredictable games--games that left him nearly dead. He had to learn how to play his mother's games in order to survive because she no longer considered him a son, but a slave; and no longer a boy, but an "it." Dave's bed was an old army cot in the basement, and his clothes were torn and raunchy. When his mother allowed him the luxury of food, it was nothing more than spoiled scraps that even the dogs refused to eat. The outside world knew nothing of his living nightmare. He had nothing or no one to turn to, but his dreams kept him alive--dreams of someone taking care of him, loving him and calling him their son.
At the Social Services office, Cathy (an experienced foster carer) is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behaviour has seen off five carers in four months. Despite her reservations, Cathy decides to take on Jodie to protect her from being placed in an institution. Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face. As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behaviour improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening paedophile ring, with neighbours and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs. Unfortunately Jodie becomes increasingly withdrawn, and it's clear she needs psychiatric therapy. Cathy urges the Social Services to provide funding, but instead they decide to take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the paedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie's future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what - her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.
Written in three distinct voices-child, teen and adult-Jane Devin takes readers on an intimate, imaginative and often harrowing life journey. Born unwanted and raised without love, the child-author invents a rich inner life to see her through years of trauma. Leaving home at 16, the teen-author struggles to find happiness and a sense of place in a world that feels confusing and unfamiliar. Then, years after stumbling into an adulthood mired in tragedy and broken dreams, the woman-author finds herself at a crossroads. The choice she ultimately makes is as stunning as it is brave.Told in unflinching and often lyrical prose, Elephant Girl goes beyond a singular life story to speak of powerful, universal truths and the ability of the human spirit to redeem itself. From the soul of a broken child and the heart of a resilient woman comes a story about turning imagination into possibility and scars into art.
This book is Colin Crump's courageous and heart-warming story of growing up in a New Zealand farming family with his brother Barry. Stories of an often-idyllic country boyhood, running wild half a century ago, are interwoven with almost unbearable scenes in which an abusive father delivers brutal beatings to his spirited sons. In Endless Fear casts powerful new light on the Crump story.
When Jane Elliott was four years old, the nightmare began. She became the helpless victim of a sociopath-bullied, dominated, and sexually abused by a man only fourteen years her senior: her stepfather. For nearly two decades she was held prisoner, both physically and emotionally. But at the age of twenty-one she escaped . . . and then she fought back. The Little Prisoner is the shocking, astonishing, and ultimately uplifting true story of one woman's shattering twenty-year ordeal-and how she triumphed against an evil and violent human monster when honesty and bravery were her only weapons.
Imagine a young boy who has never had a loving home. His only possesions are the old, torn clothes he carries in a paper bag. The only world he knows is one of isolation and fear. Although others had rescued this boy from his abusive alcoholic mother, his real hurt is just begining -- he has no place to call home. This is Dave Pelzer's long-awaited sequel to A Child Called "It". In The Lost Boy, he answers questions and reveals new adventures through the compelling story of his life as an adolescent. Now considered an F-Child (Foster Child), Dave is moved in and out of five different homes. He suffers shame and experiences resentment from those who feel that all foster kids are trouble and unworthy of being loved just because they are not part of a "real" family. Tears, laughter, devastation and hope create the journey of this little lost boy who searches desperately for just one thing -- the love of a family.
Kristina, Celeste, and Juliana were all born into the Children of God cult, and from as early as three years old were mistreated and used as sexual beings. They were denied access to formal schooling, forced to wander the streets begging for money, and were mercilessly beaten for "crimes" as harmless as reading an encyclopedia. After being separated from each other and their mothers and forced to live in various missions with multiple foster parents, the sisters eventually managed to escape. In this startling exposé, they have come together to reveal in horrific detail the group that has destroyed the lives of so many. Their intertwining stories reveal a community spread throughout the world whose legacy of anorexia, depression, drug abuse, suicide, and even murder are impossible to erase. Together, the sisters found a strength that finally enabled them to uncover and free themselves from the shadows of their past.
"Riveting . . . A genuinely important book that casts the problem of sex trafficking in America into stunning, heartbreaking relief." ("Kirkus Reviews") A "School Library Journal "Best Adult Book for Teens A Joan F. Kaywell Award Finalist from the Florida Council of Teachers of English Carissa Phelps was a runner. By the time she was twelve, she had run away from home, dropped out of school, and fled blindly into the arms of a brutal pimp. Even when she escaped him, she could not outrun the crushing inner pain of abuse, neglect, and abandonment. With little to hope for, she expected to end up in prison, or worse. But then her life was transformed through the unexpected kindness of a teacher and a counselor. Through small miracles, Carissa accomplished the unimaginable, graduating from UCLA with both a law degree and an MBA. She left the streets behind, yet found herself back, this time working to help homeless and at-risk youth discover their own paths to a better life. Like the multimillion-copy bestseller "The Glass Castle," this memoir moves us through the power of its unflinching candor and generosity.
Becoming Anna is the poignant memoir of the first sixteen years in the life of Anna Michener, a young woman who fought a painful battle against her abusive family. Labeled "crazy girl" for much of her childhood, Anna suffered physical and emotional damage at the hands of the adults who were supposed to love and protect her. Committed to various mental institutions by her family, at sixteen Anna was finally able to escape her chaotic home life and enter a foster home. As an effort toward recovery and self-affirmation as well as a powerful plea on behalf of other abused children, Anna wrote this memoir while the experience was fresh and the emotions were still raw and unhealed. Her story is a powerful tale of survival.
New chapters from Katie. In 1992, nine-year-old Katie Beers was kidnapped by a family friend and locked in an underground box for 17 days. Katie has now come forward to tell the story that created a national media storm as reporters uncovered the truth about her pre-kidnapping life of neglect and sexual abuse and the details of her rescue. She shares how this experience and the recent death of her kidnapper, John Esposito, has affected her life. Despite the horrible reality of Katie's days of being chained in darkness, the kidnapping was, in fact, the climactic end of a tragic childhood and the beginning of a new life. Katie breaks her silence and reveals her inspiring healing process to the journalist who covered the story of the disappearance more than twenty years ago. Buried Memories is the only source that includes the complete details of her traumatic childhood, transcriptions of recordings from Esposito, a first-hand account of how Katie felt after Esposito's death in 2013, and Katie's hopeful view of the future as she looks back into her dark past.
"This story of a child is heartbreaking and important. It brings into dramatic focus why we need reconciliation." - James Daschuk, author of Clearing the Plains. This memoir offers a courageous and intimate chronicle of life in a residential school. Now a retired fisherman and trapper, the author was one of an estimated 150,000 First Nations, Inuit, and Metis children who were taken from their families and sent to government-funded, church-run schools, where they were subjected to a policy of "aggressive assimilation." As Augie Merasty recounts, these schools did more than attempt to mold children in the ways of white society. They were taught to be ashamed of their native heritage and, as he experienced, often suffered physical and sexual abuse. But, even as he looks back on this painful part of his childhood, Merasty's sense of humour and warm voice shine through.
First Gear: A Motorcycle Memoir is a compelling story of childhood physical, emotional and sexual abuse that unrolls as the author, at age 50 and living with Multiple Sclerosis, rides her 2009 Harley-Davidson — named Thelma D. — from Ottawa to Winnipeg and back with a stop off in northern Ontario and a detour into Quebec. During her ride through the stunning landscape of the Canadian Shield, she shares stories of her childhood growing up in the 1970s in the Ottawa Valley with her three brothers, a violent father and an alcoholic mother. Told with a frank openness and humour, First Gear is ultimately a story of courage, survival, and recovery.