Things That Matter

She Grew Up With Sexual Abuse And Now She’s Breaking Her Silence To Help Those In A Similar Situation

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SILENT BEAUTY / VIMEO

“When it comes to child sexual abuse, stigma and silence exist across cultures.”

In a recent interview with Latina, filmmaker Jasmin Mara López explained what motivated her to create “Silent Beauty,” a documentary about the sexual abuse that persisted for generations in her family. “I wanted to encourage a dialogue around it and learn how it translated within other families,” Lopez, who found similar stories in other Latino families, told Latina.

For years, Lopez silently lived with the trauma of sexual abuse at the hands of her grandfather — “a highly regarded minister” — but when her niece was born, Lopez realized she couldn’t stay silent any longer. So she came forward. And then other members of her family came forward as well.

“Silent Beauty” explores the culture of sexual abuse and the silence that enables and empowers it.

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SILENT BEAUTY / VIMEO

In her interview with Latina, Lopez described the problems families like hers face when dealing with sexual abuse. “If anyone tried to speak up, they were manipulated and silenced, made to feel ashamed. No one denounced the crimes. Misogyny, the need to preserve our family’s image and stigma were at the root of this silence.” Her documentary, “Silent Beauty,” was her attempt to remove sexual abuse from the environment that empowers it.

“Silent Beauty” is made up of a collection her family’s archival Super 8 footage.

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SILENT BEAUTY / INDIEGOGO

On the IndieGoGo page for “Silent Beauty,” Lopez explains that the film will consist of her family’s collection of “silent home movies.” Going through these old videos helped Lopez heal, as she saw her family in a new light, and developed a compassion for those who dealt with similar abuse. Much of the film’s budget is dedicated to converting the Super 8 footage.

Adding another layer to the the importance of ‘silence,’ Lopez explains that around the time she came forward, she began to lose her hearing.

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SILENT BEAUTY / VIMEO

Lopez says that losing her hearing only inspired her to go deeper for meaning and how silence affects those around her.

On the IndieGoGo page, Lopez explains:

“The hearing loss followed a series of traumatic events, and as a result, I entered a new form of isolation. I went inwards. I often found myself deep in thought while everything moved around me, examining my emotions or considering a deeper meaning to all aspects of my life. This loss was poetry as it created a space that brought depth, meaning, beauty.”

Watch the trailer for “Silent Beauty” here.

SILENT BEAUTY / VIMEO

As Latina reports, “Silent Beauty” is expected to have a 2017 release date. If you or anyone you know is a victim of sexual abuse, hotlines, like RAINN, are available 24/7.

[H/T] LATINA: This Documentary Tackles The Culture Of Silence Around Child Sexual Abuse In Latinx Homes 

READ: Latinas Are One Of The Fastest Growing Demographics According To This Study And We’re Also Becoming Businesswomen

Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s Former Coach Suspended By USA Gymnastics For Abuse

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Olympic Gymnast Laurie Hernandez’s Former Coach Suspended By USA Gymnastics For Abuse

lauriehernandez / Instagram

It’s a well-known fact that the world of gymnastics can be particularly grueling. Gymnasts are often subjected to long hours of intense workouts, immense pressure to compete, and the high likelihood of sustaining injuries. It’s all part of the sport and what makes elite gymnasts like Laurie Hernandez so inspiring.

What women like Hernandez, do not sign up for however is the culture of abuse pervasive in the gymnastics world. Recently, USA Gymnastics has seen a period of years in which instances of abuse have come to light. In 2018, in fact, Lawrence Gerard Nassar, a former USA Gymnastics national team doctor and osteopathic physician, was sentenced to prison for his sexual abuse of minors who were gymnasts and patients of his. As part of his conviction, many gymnasts were quick to point out that the toxic and abusive nature of certain coaches allowed such abuse to happen. As it turns out while Hernandez never came forward to make a claim against Nassar she has recently made one about her gymnastics coach.

Maggie Haney, a gymnastics coach who trained Hernandez during the 2016 Olympics, has been suspended by USA Gymnastics.

USA Gymnastics decided that she would be suspected for a period of eight years for her part in verbal and emotional abuse of athletes. According to reports, once the suspension period is over Haney will be permitted to reapply for membership.

“The independent hearing panel — comprised of three members of the gymnastics community, including an attorney, a club owner, and a former national team athlete — found that Ms. Haney violated the USA Gymnastics Code of Ethical Conduct, Safe Sport Policy, and other policies,” the organization told People.com in a statement.

Hernandez spoke out about the abuse in an Instagram post shared to her page.

Hernandez, who won a gold and a silver medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, testified against Haney throughout a series of months of hearings which involved other gymnasts who trained under Haney.

Domestic Violence Victims Have Been Using Code Words At Pharmacies To Escape Abusers During Lockdowns

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Domestic Violence Victims Have Been Using Code Words At Pharmacies To Escape Abusers During Lockdowns

@CiaoMaximilian / Instagram

As lockdowns continue to occur across Europe, Asia and the Americas, worrying reports of domestic abuse have spiked.

According to news outlets, women and men who are victims of domestic abuse are at risk for greater threats now more than ever. With so much of the world in lockdown, reports have said that many confined to their homes with their domestic abusers could become victims of the pandemic.
In a report by CNN, multiple studies proclaimed “that emotionally stressful events can lead to an increase in aggressive behavior at home. Researchers identified such spikes during the 2008 economic crisis, when major natural disasters hit, and also during big football tournaments.”

According to Lucha y Siesta women’s shelter in Rome, the crisis has made abuse all the worse.

According to an interview with Lucha y Siesta and CNN, one young woman had contacted the women’s shelter with reports of a controlling relationship turned violent. The unknown woman told Lucha Y Siesta that ” her partner of four years had always been controlling and abusive but had become much worse during the lockdown.”

With the current public health crisis overwhelming Italy’s resources the country has been forced to turn its direction towards fighting the virus as opposed to helping victims.

“The court procedures are working slower than usual because most people are working from home,” Simona Ammerata a woman who works for Lucha y Siesta and spoke to CNN explained. “The fear is that the legal decrees to protect women won’t be put in place in time.”

Domestic abuse searches have surged in countries across the globe. Not just Italy. Australia and the UK are among some of the countries to report these findings.

Refuge, a domestic violence charity based out of Great Britain has also rung the alarms about similar concerns.

According to CNN, victims of domestic abuse have been using trips to supermarkets and pharmacies to ask for help as strict rules about remaining in quarantine have made it particularly difficult for abused women to escape abusers.

Codeword: “Mask 19.”

Victims of abuse have reportedly been using the codeword “Mask 19” in interactions with pharmacists behind their local counters toa ask for help. According to Elle magazine, local authorities in Spain and the Canary Islands launched an action last week that supports domestic abuse victims in making reports. Those who are incapable of outrightly making complaints to staff about their abuse, are using the code “mask 19.”