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The dark side of children's television: TV show host reveals she almost quit her job after receiving heartbreaking letters from young sexual abuse victims

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4 days ago Cindy Tran for Daily Mail Australia

a person in a red shirt: As a children's entertainer in the 90s, Suzy Cato (pictured on You and Me) was the friendly face on television that nearly every New Zealand kid grew up loving © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited As a children's entertainer in the 90s, Suzy Cato (pictured on You and Me) was the friendly face on television that nearly every New Zealand kid grew up loving As a children's entertainer in the 90s, Suzy Cato was the friendly face on television that nearly every New Zealand kid loved.

The Australian-born woman, who later moved to Auckland to start her TV career, was the bubbly star on a host of several popular kids series, including Suzy's World and You and Me.

But behind the scenes, the then-21-year-old wanted to quit her glittering job after she received heartbreaking letters from young sexual abuse victims who desperately turned to her for help.

'When I read these letters, my whole body ached and my heart was broken. All I wanted to do was rescue the children from these situations,' she told Stuff NZ podcast Double Strength Mama Power.

a close up of a person wearing glasses and smiling at the camera: The now-50-year-old TV personality said she was so distraught over the letters, she wanted to walk away from the industry for good after handing in her resignation © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The now-50-year-old TV personality said she was so distraught over the letters, she wanted to walk away from the industry for good after handing in her resignation

The now-50-year-old TV personality said she was so distraught over the letters, she wanted to walk away from the industry for good after handing in her resignation.

'What was being asked of me was a huge responsibility and honour. My own upbringing didn't have these sorts of challenges,' she said.

'I felt I didn't deserve the trust that these children were giving me because I just saw myself as this fruit loop having fun on tele.'

Related video: The dark side of Suzy Cato you've never seen before (provided by Newshub)

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But her bosses declined to accept her letter of resignation - and they encouraged her to use the platform as an opportunity to help young victims of sexual abuse.

'We addressed the issue of child abuse on our show and gave children advice about where to seek help. That's when I realised that I was working in a medium that wasn't just about pure entertainment,' Suzy said.

a person standing in front of a store: The Australian-born woman, who later moved to Auckland to start her TV career, was the bubbly star on a host of several popular kids series including Suzy's World and You and Me © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The Australian-born woman, who later moved to Auckland to start her TV career, was the bubbly star on a host of several popular kids series including Suzy's World and You and Me

She decided to respond to each child individually by penning 'cryptic' letters.

'It would say: "Thank you for getting in touch with me and sharing your challenges. I recommend that you find someone to talk to",' she recalled.

'I wrote the letters in this way to protect the child, so what I was saying couldn't be misconstrued if anyone had picked that letter up.'

And her brief response really made an impact after one of the children got in touch with her as an adult.

'They said my advice and the fact I reached out to them as a friend, got them through the hard times,' Suzy said.

After her series You and Me was axed in 1998 after 2,000 episodes, the mother went on to become a TV presenter, a radio host and even as a contestant on NZ Dancing with the Stars this year.

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