Rep. Jackie Speier shares her horrific childhood ordeal

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- ABC 7 News Anchor Cheryl Jennings recently had an exclusive interview with Congresswoman Jackie Speier of San Mateo County. They talked about the Congresswoman's new book, "Undaunted", in which she shares some very difficult things about her life.

Speier reveals a horrific childhood ordeal.

RELATED: Rep. Jackie Speier opens up about Jonestown massacre

And, she goes into detail about what happened to her at the Jonestown Massacre 40 years ago, in Guyana. The leader of a cult ordered the deaths of 900 people. Speier was shot multiple times and left for dead. She was included in a recent documentary Jonestown on ABC. While she was describing the contents of the book, Speier began to slowly describe what happened when she was just a child.

Jackie Speier: "When I was a young girl, my grandfather molested me. And it took me years to tell my mother.
Cheryl Jennings: "It was her father?"
Jackie Speier: It was my father's father. And I had just basically put it away.
Cheryl Jennings: "How old were you.
Jackie Speier: "You know, I think i was maybe five, six, seven.
Cheryl Jennings: "So this is a recovered memory.
Jackie Speier: "Yes."

Congresswoman Speier kept silent about the sexual abuse most of her young life. But finally, at the age of 11 or 12, she told her mother. She said her mom's face just crumpled. But, she didn't respond to her daughter's painful revelation.

TAKE ACTION: Get help with sexual assault, rape, and abuse

So, the Congresswoman learned to compartmentalize her trauma, the first of many. The silent pain shaped her legislative career.

She battles ferociously to protect others from sexual assaults-- in the workplace, women and men in the military, students on college campuses, and children harmed by pedophile priests.

Jackie Speier: " Why do I get so enraged when some of these things are presented to me? But then, I realized that it was that outrage from my childhood that was really spurring me to pursue all these issues."
Cheryl Jennings: "And how are you dealing with that now?"
Jackie Speier: I was always very vigilant about my kids when they were growing up to make sure they were never in any compromising position. "

Congresswoman Speier says it's incredible that she's survived all of the traumatic events she describes in her book.

Cheryl Jennings: You have an awesome husband, two great kids and a career that many people envy.
Jackie Speier: I'm very lucky. No question about it."

RELATED: Left for dead at Jonestown 40 years ago: A look back at the horrifying ordeal by survivor Congresswoman Jackie Speier

Congresswoman Speier's book title suits her well. She is-- undaunted.

Congresswoman Speier will be interviewed about her book by Cheryl at the Commonwealth Club, Dec. 3.
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