Episodes

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2020060920200615 (R4)Two women share their journeys from shame and guilt to recovery.

Two women meet for the first time to share their journeys from brokenness and despair to where both say they can find the good as well as the bad in their past.

Both were born into the Children of God cult which began as an idealistic movement to change the world, but became known for its sexual exploitation including child abuse and paedophilia.

Petra Velzeboer is of Dutch extraction but lived in cult missions around the world before leaving the community with alcohol addiction, no formal education and no clear direction of where to go. She lives in London with her two children, while Dawn Watson, who grew up in cults across Brazil, still lives in South America.

Both are now successful businesswomen. Without glossing over the horrors of the past, they examine with each other what drives them and agree that speaking out has helped them to heal. They also challenge the #MeToo campaign for continuing to see victims as victims rather than empowering them.

The conversation gets away from binaries of good and bad, looks forward and not back - examining the strength of self-preservation and how vulnerability can become the birthplace of love, trust, intimacy and courage - the very things that bring meaning and joy to life.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

Two women share their journeys from shame and guilt to recovery.

Two women meet for the first time to share their journeys from brokenness and despair to where both say they can find the good as well as the bad in their past.

Both were born into the Children of God cult which began as an idealistic movement to change the world, but became known for its sexual exploitation including child abuse and paedophilia.

Petra Velzeboer is of Dutch extraction but lived in cult missions around the world before leaving the community with alcohol addiction, no formal education and no clear direction of where to go. She lives in London with her two children, while Dawn Watson, who grew up in cults across Brazil, still lives in South America.

Both are now successful businesswomen. Without glossing over the horrors of the past, they examine with each other what drives them and agree that speaking out has helped them to heal. They also challenge the #MeToo campaign for continuing to see victims as victims rather than empowering them.

The conversation gets away from binaries of good and bad, looks forward and not back - examining the strength of self-preservation and how vulnerability can become the birthplace of love, trust, intimacy and courage - the very things that bring meaning and joy to life.

An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

Two women share their journeys from shame and guilt to recovery.

Harry And Anne2021020220210208 (R4)Two parents share their stories of life’s pain - but also its unexpected gifts - after the death of their sons, who each took their own life. They have never met but Afterlives brings them together for the first time to examine and interrogate their journeys since their sons’ suicides.

Patrick Biggs-Davison was 25 when he died by suicide in 2015. His father Harry describes his beautiful son with the magnetic personality who learnt about failure at a young age and, after struggling with drug addiction for half his life, decided that he didn’t want to go on living.

Anne Thorn lost her only child to suicide in 2011. He was 23. Since his death, she has been to university and trekked across the Sahara and, while she cannot understand how life has gone on, feels she deserves a medal for embracing life – in memory of her son Toby.

Neither leave you with any doubt about the heart-breaking experience of losing a child in this way, or the legacy of pain and guilt it leaves. But through this conversation – where they simply share their stories and ask about each other’s journey – hope emerges.

Both are passionate about raising awareness of the prevalence of suicide – especially among young men. But both also, through their brokenness and survival, talk of the courage it has given them and how life goes on.

Producer: Anna Scott-Brown
An Overtone production for BBC Radio 4

Two parents share stories of survival after their sons each took their own life.

Two people come together to examine how their pasts have changed but not overwhelmed them.