Adult abuse survivor recalls childhood trauma, 'My stepdad would get the gun that was beside his bed, put it to my head and pull the trigger, pretend to shoot me'

When Lauren Kavanaugh was eight years old, authorities liberated her from a six-year ordeal in which her mother and stepfather kept her shut away in a 4'x9' filth-ridden bedroom closet. Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson were accused of starving the little girl, and only allowing her out of her confined quarters to beat her, terrorize her, and abuse her.

"My mom would bring home guys and girls to have sex with me," 18-year-old Lauren alleges in the video above. Lauren spoke publicly about her captivity for the first time about a decade after being rescued. That was five years ago.

READ: Lauren – In Her Own Words

"My parents would use some kind of weapon to beat me," Lauren continues. "My stepdad would get the gun that was beside his bed, put it to my head and pull the trigger, pretend to shoot me."

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Lauren Kavanaugh was kept in a closet and abused for years
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Lauren Kavanaugh was kept in a closet and abused for years

When Lauren was a little girl, her parents kept her shut away in a filthy bedroom closet. Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson were accused of starving, beating and sexually abusing her for years. 

(Photo courtesy of Dr. Phil)

When Lauren was a little girl, her parents kept her shut away in a filthy bedroom closet. Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson were accused of starving, beating and sexually abusing her for years. 

(Photo courtesy of Dr. Phil)

When Lauren was a little girl, her parents kept her shut away in a filthy bedroom closet. Barbara and Kenneth Atkinson were accused of starving, beating and sexually abusing her for years. 

(Photo courtesy of Dr. Phil)

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A neighbor eventually tipped off police to Lauren's plight. According to her rescuers, at the time she was found, Lauren was severely emaciated, stood only three feet tall, and was covered in lice and feces. She was later discovered to be suffering both physical and mental delays, due to her long-term captivity.

The Atkinsons were sentenced to life in prison for their abuse of Lauren. Tune in to Wednesday's Dr. Phil, for part one of a special two-part episode, when the now 23-year-old talks about her triumphs – and continued struggles as an adult survivor of childhood torture and sexual abuse.

Click here to check local listings.

This program contains strong sexual content. Viewer discretion advised.

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