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Hollywood Party Girl Discovers Road to Joy

 “I’m in Hollywood. I’m in the thick of it. I’m living in Malibu on the beach. Nicolette Sheridan and Leif Garrett are upstairs, and we hang out together on the ocean. Like life couldn’t get any better.”

Dana Kasper was living her dream. But behind the scenes of her Glamorous world of acting, Dana had a secret. Abandoned by her father as a baby and raised by a single mom, she spent her childhood in the care of babysitters. 

 “After swimming one day, you know, he asked me to follow him into his bedroom for nap time. And I really didn’t know what was taking place. Because I thought this person was wonderful and he was a good friend of the family. And someone I looked up to and expected to keep me safe. And instead he harmed me sexually,” said Dana.

A year later, Dana fell prey to another abuser.

“Afterward, I felt great guilt and shame. It was the huge shift in my heart. It’s when my world really like turned upside down.”

To ease the pain of her abuse, Dana escaped into the world of television and film.  

“You don’t want to be there, so you try to be somewhere else. And I was, I perfected disassociation - being somewhere else. I could be whoever I wanted to be. I could be the actor on TV. I could be Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music with all the kids, and I could sing like her. I could run on the meadows; everything pure and good. And that purity and that goodness, you know, that I held onto that,” said Dana.

But that escape was only temporary. So she turned to other things to ease the pain.

“I started experimenting with drugs, alcohol, hanging out, you know, with people everywhere,” said Dana.

After high school, Dana moved to Hollywood, to work in the film industry. It was the perfect place to bury the shame and guilt she carried.

“I didn’t have to think about me. And then, to be in that where everything is pretend; it was a good place for me to continue the pretend. Because, if I let it out I’d be found out for the badness that I was. And then I would be rejected again and abandoned again and not be loved,” said Dana.

Dana quickly found success in tinsel town.  As she embraced the Hollywood lifestyle, she fell headlong into drug and alcohol abuse –and something more…

“(I) worked at ABC motion pictures, went to all the parties and worked at 20th Century Fox for years and publicity and promotion, thinking that would make me happy. You know, ‘oh gosh if you’re in the movie business, if you’re in Hollywood, if you’re working at Fox and you’re with somebody that’s important you’re going to be happy.’ But they’re passing cocaine underneath the table at business lunches. So it drove me deeper into depravity instead of being any kind of lifeline,” said Dana.

Then, Dana became pregnant. She decided to have an abortion. She quickly regretted that decision.

“I remember the guy calling the hospital after it happened when I’m in recovery and just feeling like, you know, ‘oh God, just let me die.’ You know that’s how I felt. I just wanted to really die,” said Dana.

Later, Dana got into a relationship and became pregnant again. But a week before she found out, some friends talked her into taking LSD. This time, she had no choice but abortion. Dana had enough. One night she fell on her knees in desperation.

“I just wanted to end life. So I’m on my knees and I’m hysterical and I’m just ready to end it. And I cried out to Jesus to please help me,” said Dana.

Dana surrendered her heart to the Lord. 

“He heard the depths of my heart. He knew I needed help.”
 
Dana says for the first time, she had hope. She went through AA and with God’s help, put away the drugs and alcohol. She also forgave her abusers, and received God’s healing, forgiveness, and love.

“I didn’t want to drink, which is remarkable because I love to be social and drink. And that was the beginning of walking out of the pit of hell,” said Dana.

Today Dana is married and has two daughters. She’s an advocate for victims of sexual abuse. The love she found through Jesus Christ has given her peace.

“He softened my heart to receive His love and that helps me love myself and that helps me love others. In the storm of life, He is the rock. It will be the sweetest life you’ve ever lived. If you want joy, the road to joy is Jesus.”

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