January 26, 2017
Lauren says for six years of her childhood (ages 2-8), she was physically, sexually and psychologically abused, while being forced to live in a filthy, urine soaked closet. During this time, her five brothers and sisters lived, ate and played just feet from where she was confined.
With the help of a neighbor who alerted authorities to her plight, Lauren was liberated from her parents’ closet in 2001. Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson were each given life sentences for abusing Lauren.
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Eventually Lauren was adopted, but even though she says she had been kept separate from her brothers and sisters during all the years she was kept in the closet, Lauren says, “I always wanted to have a relationship with my siblings.” She says she was told they wanted a relationship with her, too.
“My social worker said that my siblings wanted to get to know me, and asked if I wanted to see them,” says Lauren, who was given a day and time for the meeting. But at the last minute, she recalls, they backed out. “On that day they said, ‘oh, it’s too painful, maybe some other time,’” says Lauren. “I don’t understand what’s so ‘painful’ about getting to know me. It’s time to grow up.”
Now 23, Lauren says she is trying to have a relationship with her oldest sister, Blake. Cautiously, Lauren says, “Blake’s gonna have to work really hard for my trust, just like everybody else has. “