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

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Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Tells Her She Had Non-Consensual Sex with Star’s Dad

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Jada Pinkett Smith’s Mom Tells Her She Had Non-Consensual Sex with Star’s Dad

Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty

*Trigger Warning: this piece discusses domestic violence and rape and may be upsetting for some.*

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual abuse, text or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at1-800-656-4673. Or do an online chat.

Rape by a spouse or a partner is an act of physical violence that is often overlooked and under talked about. While there’s been a growth in international attention regarding marital rape it is often widely considered a “gray area” subject even in the many countries where it is illegal. Actress Jada Pinkett Smith learned a hard truth about marital rape affected her parents’ marriage this week in an exclusive clip on the Red Table Talk. Speaking with her mother, Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and her daughter Willow Smith, the actress spoke about non-consensual sex with partners.

In the latest episode of “The Red Table Talk,” Adrienne Banfield-Norris revealed that she had been raped in her marriage to Pinkett Smith’s father.

“So, Gam, you feel like nowhere in your history in regards to sexual intimacy have you felt like you had a sexual experience that was not necessarily consensual,” Pinkett Smith noted.

Banfield-Norris admitted “I have, I have, but it was also with my husband. Your dad, actually… So that’s really gray.”

Taking a moment to process, Pinkett Smith paused and that asked her mother to clarify “You’re basically saying you had non-consensual sex with my father,” she replied to her mother.

Banfield-Norris has noted how she became pregnant with Pinkett Smith in high school and married the actress’s father, Robsol Pinkett Jr soon after. After several months of marriage, the two divorced. In 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed in another episode of Red Table Talk that her mother had endured domestic violence from Robsol.

“I knew that my mother and my father had a very violent relationship early on,” Pinkett Smith explained. “She has a couple scars on her body that, as a child, I was just curious. I was like, ‘Oh, Mommy, what’s that? What’s that?’ … This will be the first time that Willow’s actually heard these stories about her grandfather who she knew.”

At the time, the three women talked about a scar on Banfield-Norris’s back which she received when Pinkett Smith’s father threw her over a banister.

“Not to make this like an excuse … but he was typically in an altered state when he was abusive like that,” Banfield-Norris said. “He was typically drunk… “I think women stay because they think that they’re in love. That’s what it was for me. I thought that it was love.”

Red Table Talk airs Tuesdays at 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.

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Kat Von D Speaks Out About ‘Torturous’ Kidnapping And Abuse As A Teenager

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Kat Von D Speaks Out About ‘Torturous’ Kidnapping And Abuse As A Teenager

Amy Graves / Getty

Almost two decades have passed since reality television personality, and socialite Paris Hilton ruled the American media scene. In the years since her days on “The Simple Life,” the now-DJ has seemed to retreat a bit from her magazine cover-seeking days but emerged last month as a survivor ready to reckon with her abusers when she opened up about traumatic events she experienced as a teen. Appearing in a new documentary called This Is Paris the former model revealed that in her early years she endured abuse at the hands of administrators at a boarding school she attended as a teen.

The new documentary chronicled her experiences at Provo Canyon School, a youth treatment center, and featured a group of other female survivors and former peers of Hilton that she knew while attending the school. Now, Hilton’s documentary is prompting others to open up, including someone pretty well known: Kat Von D.

Von D, a controversial figure in her own right, revealed that she had experienced abuse as a teen while attending the Utah-based boarding school.

Von D is a Mexican-born tattoo artist whose career has been mired in controversy particularly as of late. In recent years she has been slammed for her anti-vaccine stance (which she eventually retracted) and she has been accused of anti-Semitism by association (which she has also denied)

Opening up to her fans in a 23-minute-long Instagram video on Monday, the tattoo artist revealed that she had been sent to the Utah boarding school at age 15 and was “locked up for half a year, without ever seeing the sun.”

Addressing her experience as a teen, Von D thanked Hilton for being the one to open up the conversation about “torturous” boarding schools. She went onto encourage others to watch Hilton’s documentary.

“I spent those 6 traumatic months of my teenage years, only to leave with major PTSD and other traumas due to the unregulated, unethical and abusive protocols of this ‘school’ — and cannot believe this place is STILL OPERATING,” Von D wrote in a caption of the video.

“Please take a moment to watch @parishilton ‘s documentary #ThisIsParis and follow @breakingcodesilence to see other survivors testimonials and better understand the horrors of the ‘Troubled Teen’ industry, and the damage it causes to not just the kids, but the families,” she concluded.

In her heartbreaking video, Von D recalled her experience attending the Provo Canyon School.

“Watching [Hilton] talk about some of her past trauma going to this school that her parents sent her as a teenager — I don’t like to call them schools because they’re not schools they’re f***ing lockdown facilities. It just triggered so much s*** for me because it turns out I went to the same school,” Von D explained. “I was sent to the same place and I was 15 when I was sent and I spent my 16th birthday in there… I was there for a total of 6 months and they were definitely the most traumatic 6 months of my life.”

Like Hilton, Von D was kidnapped from her own bed in the middle of the night before being dragged against her will to the boarding school. In her video, Von D claimed to have been blindfolded during the drive.

“I had no idea it was gonna end up being that I was trapped for six months at this pretty crazy, torturous awful place,” she revealed.

Von D recalled being force-fed medication and emotionally abused.

Von D asserted that while she had been “spared of the sexual abuse and the physical abuse” that other experienced she was definitely a witness to these events during her time at the school.

This Is Paris is a nearly two-hour film that goes into detail about the alleged abuse the model and her peers endured while at the boarding school.

In the video, Hilton explains how her trauma followed her into adulthood and even defined how she ultimately branded herself.

Speaking about the school, Hilton revealed that she endured physical and emotional abuse and was force-fed medication, she also explained that while she isn’t currently pursuing legal justice, she is working to have such schools shut down.

“I want these places shut down,” Hilton explained. “I want them to be held accountable. And I want to be a voice for children and now adults everywhere who have had similar experiences. I want it to stop for good and I will do whatever I can to make it happen.”

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