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This week I will be speaking with a woman who endured some pretty heartbreaking abuse as a child. Yet, today, she’s made it her life’s purpose to speak with people about the impact sexual abuse has on their lives and offer steps they can take to reclaim their innocence.
Jeanette Finn’s father sexually abused her often, starting at age 10 and continuing for five years. The abuse had a dramatic impact on the direction of her life. Jeanette didn’t see how much she had been changed by the abuse until she was able to observe the life of a normal 10-year-old girl and experience that innocence through her granddaughter’s eyes.
Jeanette had dulled her pain with alcohol so often that she became an alcoholic in her teens. Trying to gain sobriety put her on a roller-coaster path of coming out of addiction only to fall back into that lifestyle a year or two later.
Jeanette’s research showed that 50 percent of women she encounters on speaking engagements admit to her they were also sexually abused as children or teenagers. Today, she wants women to feel comfortable talking about what happened to them. It does not need to be a secret and they do not have to live with shame and guilt.
The timing is right for a national discussion on sexual abuse of children, Jeanette explained. Thanks to societal attention on gender identity, youngsters are exposed to sexual topics much younger than they have been in the past. They are more frequently targeted for abuse, as well.
In fact, some studies show as many as one out of every 20 boys and one out of every five girls are sexually abused before their 13th birthdays.
I truly appreciate Jeanette Finn’s honesty to share her difficult journey with the rest of us. Hopefully, just hearing Jeanette’s story will help other current and former victims of childhood sexual abuse to realize they are not alone.
As happens so many times with others, Jeanette brought the baggage of her abuse into her first marriage. In fact, she married a man who was very similar to her father in many ways in the way he would treat Jeanette as an object for his fantasies.
After divorcing and remarrying, Jeanette was finally able to maintain a consistent path toward gaining complete sobriety. Once she was able to think clearly again, she wrote a book titled, “Innocent Again: Three Keys to Joy Restored After Childhood Sexual Abuse.”
Jeanette was able to create a non-profit organization to accept donations in order to freely share materials to help women recover from the devastating effect of abuse.
Not only does the victim have to recover, but those who were close to the abuser and victim often ignored or covered up the crime. For Jeanette, that meant confronting her mother to have a raw, real and exceptionally-honest conversation about what happened. Only then could the two of them heal their own broken relationship.
The thought of dredging up an ugly, hurtful past and digging through a lot of painful memories often keeps women from going through the process to find genuine healing. But, Jeanette said it doesn’t have to be that way.
“You can learn to be healed, have joy and start living your life right now,” she said. “Then if something comes up while you’re living life that makes you really angry or that causes you to question your reaction to a situation, then you can see it through the eyes of trauma you experienced.”
People who are caught up in an abusive situation or who endured abuse in the past can find free resources Jeanette developed at www.innocentagain.com. Connecting with Jeanette can help women renew, reclaim and restore themselves following the trauma of childhood sexual abuse so they can restore their joy and become innocent again.
To connect with Jeanette, visit her Facebook page at www.facebook.com/renewreclaimrestore.
A Kindle version of her book “Innocent Again: Three Keys to Joy Restored After Childhood Sexual Abuse” is available on Amazon.com.
Both books are available as eBooks for free on her website and as signed paperbacks for a donation.
Jeanette Finn’s story of a painful past has a happy ending because she turned her pain into a renewed sense of purpose to help others overcome similar pain they experienced.
If you’d like help in identifying a purpose for your life or to get help planning your next steps, I’m offering a complimentary brainstorming session to members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For details, connect with me on Facebook or visit www.forwardfrom50.com.
That’s all I have for this week’s show. Next week, I’ll be interviewing a woman from Virginia who has always loved horses. Today, she helps children and teens learn to ride, care for and love the majestic animals as well. She also describes simple ways any seasoned citizen can have a tremendous impact on the lives of others by serving as a mentor. I’ll have that interview on the next episode of the Passionate Purpose podcast.
After closing his business and enduring several painful years of uncertainty regarding what to do with his life, Greg founded Forward From 50 to help men and women over 50 to live more purposeful lives by pursuing things they are passionate about. A Wisconsin native, Greg currently lives in Arizona.