People

Unspeakable Terror, Extraordinary Strength

A LITTLE GIRL LOCKED IN A CAGE & SEXUALLY ABUSED
“When I was being abused, I couldn’t imagine my future,” says Michelle Stevens. “Now all I want to do is help other people.”

AFTER SURVIVING 10 YEARS OF ABUSE BY HER STEPFATHER, MICHELLE STEVENS SHARES HER BRAVE JOURNEY OF HEALING AND HOPE

It’s lunchtime on a recent Monday, and Michelle Stevens is finally eating breakfast. Inside her spacious Pasadena home, the 48-year-old mom to son Mikey, 11, sits at the kitchen table with her wife, Chris, coordinating work schedules, arranging school pickups, planning an upcoming business trip. Quick to laugh, Stevens is comfortable in the center of normal family chaos—a concept completely foreign to her as a child, when she lived a daily, horrific nightmare filled with rape, torture and sexual abuse. “No one knew my history,” she says. “I was very afraid.”

After nearly 40 years, she’s finally not afraid anymore. In her new book Scared Selfless: My Journey from Abuse and Madness to Surviving and Thriving, out March 21 and excerpted exclusively here, Stevens recounts the explicit details of how her stepfather, Gary Lundquist, a fifth-grade teacher, locked her in a cage in the family basement, “training”

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