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

These Harrowing Letters Written By Children In Detention Centers Are Surfacing With Accounts Of Sexual Assault And Hunger

Things That Matter

These Harrowing Letters Written By Children In Detention Centers Are Surfacing With Accounts Of Sexual Assault And Hunger

Univision Noticias /YouTube

Reports of sexual and physical abuse in detention centers aren’t new, but a series of handwritten letters by migrant youth in detention centers offer a closer look at the violence and neglect children experience during their journeys to the US and while locked up in immigration holding centers.

Spanish-language network Univision obtained a dozen letters from children, between the ages of 13 and 17, who denounced the inhumane conditions, which one described as “torment,” at the “hieleras” or “perreras,” Spanish for holding cells. Each of the youths spoke under the condition of anonymity.

One migrant teen said she was “treated badly” and “starved” under US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), also noting that agents spoke to her “with demeaning and discriminatory words.” Another child added that youth who became ill weren’t treated; instead, they were placed in confinement

Univision Noticias /YouTube

One teenage girl, who said she spent five days in a cell sick, confirmed the allegation.

“I was sick, I asked for help and they did not offer it to me,” she wrote. “There were babies crying, sick children. We only bathed one time since we arrived. I had a very bad time, they treated us badly, they woke us up all the time.”

One of the unaccompanied minors said the young migrants “didn’t have anything to sleep on” and that they “couldn’t bathe themselves.”

Outside a shelter in Mexico, where one boy stopped during his journey to the US, he said he was sexually abused while begging for food. The child left the Casa del Migrante in Tijuana, Baja to ask strangers for donations so he could pay for food. That’s when one man stopped and coerced him into a sexual exchange.

Univision Noticias /YouTube

“He told me, ‘I want you to do something to me that I want with you,’” the boy noted in his letter. “Well, he took me to a hotel room. He told me, ‘bathe.’ I bathed and then he forced me to have sex with him because I was hungry, well, the necessity. He forced me because I was very hungry. And I had to do it not because I wanted to, but because he forced me. Well, everything happened and he gave me money. For me it was very dirty, but the necessity [to eat] led me to do it.”

As a result of the violence they experienced during their trek north and while in US detention centers, some teens expressed an interest in doing work in their new country to help unaccompanied minors like themselves.

“My dream is to study to be a lawyer so that I can help migrants from other countries to achieve their dream as I am fulfilling my dream,” one undocumented teen wrote. 

Univision Noticias /YouTube

She added: “My dream is to be a lawyer because I know it’s hard to leave our country.”

According to United States guidelines, unaccompanied youth must be released from Border Patrol facilities within 72 hours, where they are then required to be transferred to the United States Department of Health & Human Services, which places the children with a sponsor. Currently, there are tens of thousands of youth at CBP facilities along the border.

Read:  In Mexican Shelters, African And Haitian Migrants Are Uprising Against Inhumane Treatment

A Youtuber Told Walmart Employees That They Were Fired As A Prank, Now Users Want Her Blocked From The Platform

Fierce

A Youtuber Told Walmart Employees That They Were Fired As A Prank, Now Users Want Her Blocked From The Platform

YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston

YouTube couple Joel and Lauren live for uploading videos. You could say that’s their profession. With 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube — and millions more following them on other channels and Instagram, Joel and Lauren must know a thing or two about pranks, vlogging, and challenges. At least that’s what they claim to be: experts at knowing what is funny. Their latest prank, however, did not go over well with their audience — or anyone for that matter, and for a good reason.

It was far from funny.

Joel and Lauren pulled their latest prank and made a joke out of hardworking Walmart employees.

YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston

Let me recap what went down. On April 23, in a YouTube video titled “CEO Firing People Prank” (which has since been deleted), Lauren dressed in a short-haired wig and said, “So, I’m going to be going up to Walmart employees and basically observing them and then I’m going to be, like, ‘You’re fired, let me see your badge.'”

In the video, Lauren approaches different Walmart employees and tells some of them “good job” and others that they have done a “bad job” and that they are fired.

YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston

According to Click2Houston, Lauren would tell people that it was just a prank. For the most part, Walmart employees didn’t seem to mind that some random woman was firing them. Then the prank just spiraled into cruelty.

Lauren approached Maria Leones, an immigrant from the Philippines, who’s worked at Walmart for six years.

YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston

Lauren went up to Leones, who was working at the register, and said: “I’m in charge now and I don’t appreciate the way you’re working so I’m going to need to see your badge and vest.”

Leones was in complete shock and thought about how her insurance covers the medical needs of her husband. She began to cry and plead for her job.

YouTube/KPRC 2 Click2Houston

In an interview with a local news station, Leones explained that her husband recently underwent a quadruple bypass after a heart attack and depends on her to cover his medical bills. Lauren then realized the nature of her cruelty and began to apologize.
“I’m sorry, don’t cry. You’re OK. I’m sorry. You’re not fired. You’re doing a really good job,” Lauren says in the video.

Love concluded her video saying “Hope you guys enjoyed the video. It was honestly hilarious, it turned out really well,”  after saying that she felt so bad for Leones that she offered her woman $50. Leones said she never got the money.

Walmart doesn’t see the humor in the joke either.

@laurenalicelove / Instagram

A spokesperson for the company told People Magazine in a statement that Love was banned from their stores.

“This prank is offensive and the people responsible are no longer welcome in our stores. We’ve taken actions on behalf of our associates, including asking YouTube to remove the video and calling their attention to the bullying nature of this hoax,” the statement read. “Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers. They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect, and will continue to have our full support.”

People on social media are letting the Youtuber have it.

Next time a weird person comes up to you at Walmart, you must be ready.

People will recognize Lauren with a short wig from now (she wears it often in her pranks). So if you see her coming, you know what to do.

We don’t support violence, but perhaps a pretend body-slam?

Why did they ever think this would be funny?

They definitely went too far.

Yeah, there was nothing funny about it.

With so much division in the country, do we really need people playing with their emotions, especially when it concerns work and medical insurance?

So what did Walmart have to say about all of this? It wasn’t good.

In a statement provided by Click2Houston, Wallmart said: “This prank is offensive and the people responsible are no longer welcome in our stores. We’ve taken actions on behalf of our associates, including asking YouTube to remove the video and calling their attention to the bullying nature of this hoax. Our associates work hard every day to serve our customers. They do a fantastic job, deserve better than being subjected to such disrespect, and will continue to have our full support.”

Yikes, Joel and Lauren better find a new place to get diapers but don’t even think about pulling this crap at Target. We’re watching you!

READ: This Couple Tried Recording A YouTube Prank That Led To His Death

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