January 25, 2017
As a child, Lauren was repeatedly raped, tortured, starved and imprisoned in a bedroom closet for six years. Her jailers were Lauren’s own mother, Barbara, and stepfather, Kenneth Atkinson. At the age of eight, after a neighbor alerted authorities to the horrors taking place in the Atkinson home, Lauren was finally set free, and Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson arrested. Charged and convicted of abusing Lauren, the couple was eventually sentenced to life in prison.
At 18, Lauren spoke publicly for the first time about her ordeal. “I went on Dr. Phil to get my story out there so that I can inform others so that maybe it wouldn’t happen to another child,” says the now 23-year-old who returns for a special two-part Dr. Phil this Wednesday and Thursday.
TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Betrayed by a spouse or family member?
She says, despite the passage of time, she’s had a hard time leaving the past behind. “My life’s been pretty hard; I’ve been struggling a lot. I hardly sleep anymore. My anxiety is terrible. I have tried to commit suicide over 30 times.”
“Sometimes I have flashbacks about my past, my childhood,” says Lauren who reports having struggled with drugs and alcohol addiction, and experiencing severe depression.