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"EXTRA" Anchor Shares Message of Empowerment with Triangle Women

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RALEIGH — The Women's Center of Wake County brought a familiar face to the Triangle to headline a conference on professional development.

Among other things, businesswomen learned it's not easy navigating the road to success when your personal life is leaving skid marks in the pavement.

Maureen O'Boyle, anchor of the TV magazine series EXTRA, spoke heart-to-heart with women at the conference Tuesday in Raleigh.

O'Boyle is a news veteran with 15 years of broadcast journalism experience. But during her visit to the Triangle, a group of businesswomen got to see a more personal side of the newswoman.

"My entire life changed," says O'Boyle. "All of us, as I mentioned, have hurdles -- sick child, divorce, whatever it is you're going through. Financial problems. For me, I was sexually assaulted by a stalker."

She talked candidly, and for the first time, publicly, about her experience.

"Inside, I thought my soul had been murdered," says O'Boyle of her experience. "I thought I had been silenced as a person. I thought that vivacious, hard working, ambitious young lady was gone. I really believed that. Thank God she wasn't gone."

O'Boyle was speaking heart-to-heart with her audience. Her message was one of empowerment and taking back control.

"When I have one of these huge, awful hurdles to cross over, in my life, I have to face them, deal with it, focus and move on," O'Boyle told the group.

A female runner was raped at Raleigh'sShelley Lakelast Monday evening, leaving many women angry and frustrated. What would O'Boyle say to women who jog, run or skate at the lake who are having trouble moving on?

"I think what they should do, and it starts at a grassroots level, is they should organize some sort of a march in that park to reclaim that park at night."

O'Boyle credits counselors at a women's center for helping her re-direct her life, after she was assaulted.