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How This 'Oprah Show' Guest And Sexual Abuse Survivor Turned Anger Into Forgiveness (VIDEO)

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In 2002, Teresa Clay appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and shared her heartbreaking story of sexual abuse, one that Oprah says she never forgot.

Teresa was molested by her mother's boyfriend for years, and said that when she finally found the courage to come forward -- her mom rejected her. "She chose him over me," Teresa said in 2002.

"I felt that she cared more about having a man in her life than she did about me being her daughter," Teresa said.

After reporting the abuse to her family and authorities, Teresa went on to live in seven different foster homes. Charges were never filed against her abuser.

Feeling she had lost her relationship with her family, Teresa said she tried committing suicide. "I always felt like I was reaching out, and nobody was listening," she said.

Almost 12 years after her "Oprah Show" appearance, "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" followed up to find out how Teresa is today.

Teresa spoke about the anger she felt in the wake of it all. "I was livid," she said. "I was like, he never went to jail … and here I was separated from my family and he's staying with my family?"

Since the show aired, Teresa said her abuser died of a massive heart attack. It caused something to change in her. "I got to a point where I just didn't want to be mad anymore," Teresa said.

She took out her Bible and read a verse: "It said something like, 'As is the mother, so is the daughter,'" Teresa said. "Then I realized what it meant -- that I needed to know who my mom was."

After talking with family members, she learned her mom was also a survivor, and had been in a string of abusive relationships before meeting Teresa's abuser.

"She has four kids and she's a single parent," Teresa said. "He's in the military and he's handsome, and she felt as if this was a blessing for her."

Teresa said she decided on her own to forgive her mother. "We started talking a little bit more," she said. "And I have to tell you, even though we have a closer relationship now -- we definitely do -- I have boundaries in that relationship that some things I don't discuss."

An all-new season of "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" returns on Sunday, June 1, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.

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Full Episode - 200 Adult Men Who Were Molested ... - Oprah.com

Childhood Sexual Abuse Survivors Come Forward - Oprah.com

Oprah Opens Up About Her Abusive Childhood - Video - Oprah.com

Filed by Lynn Okura
 

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