Giving Compass’ Take:
• Children are vulnerable to sexual abuse and, often, they do not speak out about their suffering. The problem is additionally complicated by gender and race, which are often let out of adult conversations.
• How can adults help children to understand unacceptable behavior and report it? How can the conversation around sexual abuse be expanded to better include men and people of color?
• Find out how to support anti-sexual violence organizations.
I was raped when I was eight years old. By a grownup that I truly trusted. After he raped me, he told me I had to return the next day or I would be “in trouble.” And because I was terrified, and confused, I went back the next day and was raped again. I never told anyone what happened.
More than being Dominican, more than being an immigrant, more, even, than being of African descent, my rape defined me. I spent more energy running from it than I did living.
By fourteen, I was holding one of my father’s pistols to my head. I had trouble at home. I had trouble at school. I had mood swings like you wouldn’t believe. Since I’d never told anyone what had happened my family assumed that was just who I was—un maldito loco.
Of course, I never got any kind of help, any kind of therapy. Like I said, I never told anyone. In a family as big as mine—five kids—it was easy to get lost, even when you were going under.
Since us Afro-Latinx brothers are viewed by society as always already sexual perils, very few people ever noticed what was written between the lines in my fiction—that Afro-Latinx brothers are often sexually imperiled.
Read the full article on childhood trauma by Junot Díaz at The New Yorker.
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