Jessica's Childhood was Terrible. And Then She Met God - Hope 103.2

Jessica’s Childhood was Terrible. And Then She Met God

Despite how difficult it can be to speak up, Jessica wants survivors to pursue being "set free" from the bondage of their painful past.

By Ben McEachenFriday 22 Dec 2023Hope MorningsFaithReading Time: 4 minutes

Warning: The following article contains mentions of domestic violence and sexual abuse. If you need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit If you have been impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit

By her sixth birthday, Jessica’s mum had been married three times. Jessica lived in seven American states during those six years, as well as Germany and Bermuda.

She enjoyed being “the new kid on the block” wherever she went because Jessica did not get “positive attention” at home.

Instead, along with constantly being uprooted and often feeling lonely, Jessica was subjected to years of abuse and neglect.

“The second [husband]… had a very bad temper,” Jessica told Hope Mornings.

“I was two, but I very vividly remember it.

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“I would hide under the ironing board and table as he would beat my mum.”

Jessica’s mother would flee these “wrestling matches”, leaving her alone with her violent stepfather.

“It’s kinda hard to talk about but he would touch me inappropriately.”

“I really felt he would beat her so he could have his way with me, in a sense.”

From being locked out of her home and abandoned, to being taken on drug runs with another stepfather, growing up for Jessica was a painful struggle.

Jessica has released her first book, The Quest for Family, that charts her childhood trauma through to how she has come to discover joy and healthy family relationships.

According to The Australian Child Maltreatment Study, about 40 per cent of Australians aged 16 to 65 have been affected by domestic violence. Physical abuse has been experienced by 32 per cent, while 31 per cent have been impacted by emotional abuse.

The study also revealed that child maltreatment resulted in significantly increased levels of major depressive disorder, generalised anxiety, alcohol use, and post-traumatic stress.

Jessica hopes The Quest for Family is a support and practical encouragement for anyone in need of similar healing and hope to her.

The biggest change in Jessica’s life actually came amid her turbulent childhood.

While it was sadly common for Jessica’s mother to leave her with others, one babysitting couple wanted Jessica to know about the God of love, comfort and care.

“They read the Bible to me and started telling me about Jesus and all the wonderful things He did,” Jessica said.

“How He could save us and be our friend forever.”

Jessica invited Jesus to be that forever friend in her own heart.

For the first time, Jessica found the intimate, valuable relationship that our families should be grounded in.

The family unit flowing from God to us through Jesus has sustained Jessica, even as she would be “in despair at many times, wondering why I was alive”.

“Did my life matter, if I had to suffer so much?”

“I almost felt like Job in the Bible – why did things have to be like this for me?”

Strikingly, Jessica said she has never blamed God.

Instead, the powerful, saving grace of God caused Jessica’s life to improve, despite her circumstances.

“It definitely changed the trajectory of my life,” Jessica said.

“It gave me a distraction. It gave me hope. It gave me someone to talk with when I was feeling alone.”

The Quest for Family is an invitation to seek the same light that Jessica found to lead away from the darkness of abuse and trauma.

The light of Jesus guiding all of us toward uplifting and nurturing relationships, informed by the command to love one another as Jesus loved us.

While Jessica understands how difficult it can be to speak up or seek assistance, she wants survivors to pursue being “set free” from the bondage of their painful past.

“God can heal you and help you grow and help you to make a difference in the lives of others,” Jessica said.

“Families are broken now. People are suffering.

“Even if you don’t have family like I did, you can find family by pouring into other people’s lives and letting them pour into yours.

“If people could look around to the needs of others… being in-tune to other people’s needs, then the world would be a different place.”

Listen to the full interview with Jessica Clancy in the player above.

If you need support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit If you have been impacted by sexual assault, domestic or family violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit
• Lifeline 13 11 14
• Suicide Line 1300 651 251
• Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
• 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732
If you are in an emergency, or at immediate risk of harm to yourself or others, please contact emergency services on 000.

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