Guest post by Johnnetta Mcswain, Author and Activist
Note: This post is not appropriate for children.
I was born to an alcoholic mother and an absent father. From the moment I entered the world, I faced neglect, abuse, and poverty. At the age of five, my three uncles began what would become five years of brutal sexual, mental, and physical torture of me, my sister, and my male cousin. By the age of eight, I contracted syphilis and pneumonia as a result of the sexual abuse.
After the torture stopped, I was still left with the neglect and emotional abuse of my mother who didn’t provide my basic needs. Therefore, I dropped out of high school, began to steal, and lived a life of self-destruction.
On my 30th birthday, an urgency came over me to be the first in my family to break these vicious cycles. In a genuine effort to save my two sons from continuing these cycles, at age 32, I packed up my house, took my boys and drove from Birmingham, Alabama to Georgia. Equipped with only a GED and a dream to be the first in my family to graduate with a college degree, I enrolled at Kennesaw State University at age 33, and graduated in three years, becoming the first college graduate in my family. But, this wasn’t enough for me, at age 36, I enrolled in Clark Atlanta University and graduated in two years with my Masters in Social Work with a 3.9 GPA.
In April 2009, I was the main feature in the Emmy® Award-winning documentary, “The Road Beyond Abuse,” directed by Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) and narrated by Jane Fonda, depicting my journey from overcoming the torture of my childhood to finding self-love, forgiveness, and education. I have founded Breaking the Cycle: Beating the Odds, an organization that empowers women to break the negative cycles that cripple them from reaching their fullest potential.
I have written my autobiography, Rising Above the Scars, because like many women and young girls, I had carried the curse of continuing my family’s high school drop out cycle, welfare, government housing, food stamps, poverty, single mother, alcoholism, drugs, prison, anger, hate, low self-esteem, and self-destruction.
Today, I speak internationally, mentor, and provide life developmental coaching. Currently I am completing my Ph.D. in Social Work Policy and Administration. In 2014, I will have accomplished becoming the first doctor in my family. Let’s break the silence and shame of child abuse and neglect.
*Note* The above guest post is from author and activist, Johnnetta Mcswain. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Johnnetta, you inspire us!
Johnnetta’s story is an incredible one. Have you overcome huge odds, too? We’d love to hear about it. Or, can you recommend other books that share an inspiring true-life story like Johnnetta’s? Thanks for sharing!