“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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, well, so you’re in the midst of new love and wondering if it’s too good to be true. Things are going astonishingly well and not only is your new guy or girl a perfect match they’re super into you to the point that they’re almost TOO into you. Attentive, charming, selfless in bed, they tick off all of the boxes and so much more. Almost to the point that their constant texts, calls, and gifts are a little overwhelming.
While it might be possible that your new love is really just a loving charmer, it’s possible that you might have found yourself in the path of a love bomber.
To find the red flags of love bomber we turned to Reddit where users had quite a bit of insight.
Check them out below!
“I think there’s a lot of overlap. Looking back at the time when I fell in love there was a ton of despair, loneliness and unmet emotional needs underneath all the surface level eager happiness and wanting to connect. She became the focus of my intense unconscious fantasy of being rescued from my childhood rut, and I became the focus of her similar fantasies. It wasn’t a respectful way of approaching another person and we didn’t actually get to know each other much during that honeymoon period, or even during most of the relationship that followed – although it took me a while to realize this. There were some disturbing similarities with addiction (which I’ve also experienced in various forms). That realization eventually, painfully, allowed me to see that I’d only drifted along the flow of falling in love in the first place because I didn’t understand myself well enough to know what was motivating me: a desperate hunger and pain from being emotionally abandoned by my parents when I was little. I wanted someone to be the perfectly loving parent I never had. So now I’m spending a lot of my available energy on understanding myself, trying to meet those unmet needs in healthy ways, and just having a better relationship with myself in general. I like to think of it as adopting the scared, hurt, ashamed child inside me and being the kind parent he needs. (It’s much easier said than done.) I’ve given myself an indefinite break from romantic or sexual relationships to get the space and clarity I need in order to do this work. Maybe some people reading this will think I’m just avoiding intimacy because it scares me. But knowing my own history of getting emotionally and physically involved with someone when my childhood traumas were still so raw and unhealed, knowing how much confusion, tension, self-compromising, resentment and subtle boundary violation there was, I feel there really is something to be scared of.” –beaaycan
“When you are with a person, are you still you? If you don’t know, ask your friends. Do you find that you change your favorite music to their favorite music without really thinking about if you do like it? And food, and movies and other stuff? Do you make yourself into the person they want you to be, or try to do this? Or do you both challenge each other to keep being you and find ways to be you, more and better?
When you want to spend time alone, does the other person respect your request? Or do they invade and have a reason like they just couldn’t keep away? Because while that sounds romantic, it is manipulative and puts their wants over your request/need for alone time.
When you want to spend time with your friends, does the other person whine and pout or respect your desire to have more people in your life than just a Significant Other? Normal is having friends besides the romantic interest and spending time with all of them, sometimes together and sometimes on your own. Does the person complain about your friends and not want to share you? Bad sign.
Seriously, the best advice I ever heard is to become friends before you become romantic. Romantic stuff can hide the other stuff that you need to know. If someone can give you the respect to be friends first, you have a better chance at long term.
And seriously, I have been nearly forty years with my spouse, and the romance and affection and time together and expressing feelings and messaging and all, it doesn’t stop, and it isn’t better at the beginning of the relationship. It’s new then, but if you can hold on through the hard times, it is better later.” –blueberryyogurtcup
“The key is how the person you’re with treats and speaks about other people. Pay particular attention to how they talk about and deal with exes.
If they’re a perpetual victim – their boss is always on their case, the ex screwed them over, they put other people down viciously but you’re ‘different’ – then you’ll be next once the bubble bursts. On the other hand, if you’ve got someone around who owns their part in breaking up with their ex/still has positive contact with them, wants to actively introduce you to their friends and social circle and is interested in your friends and family on more than just a superficial level, you can probably assume they’re genuine. If they take responsibility for their behaviour in minor disagreements rather than saying stuff like ‘you’re making me angry’ or putting your opinion down and they seek a ‘win-win’ resolution, then you can probably assume that they’re not bullshitting you. I had a friend who spent two years in a relationship with a guy she worked with (her mum worked there too!!!) and had no clue he was living with another woman 5 days a week! My friend would stay the weekend and the other woman would stay the rest of the week and there was a third woman in another city!!!! He just wove convincing lies about what he was doing during the time he wasn’t with her.
Key things that I think she should have picked up – he never showed interest in or met her friends, she didn’t really meet his, he didn’t make weekday plans with her – yet they worked in the same office-, there was a locked storage room in his flat he never opened in front of her, and he made no effort to move their situation forward. After all, if you had an interested, committed partner who worked beside you, wouldn’t you expect you’d consider moving in together to save on commuting costs, invite friends over, plan a holiday and open a joint bank ac for bills?
If a person’s behaviour doesn’t seem committed or logical, move on.” –AugustaG
“I think you have to give it time. Love bombing can only last so long before an N’s true colors start to shine. Don’t make any big commitments (like, a week in Mexico, moving in together, or getting engaged) for at least 6 months. And seriously don’t get engaged for at least 2 years. Moving in… 2 years is also good, but 1 year might be acceptable. It can take a couple years before you truly see someone at their worst, and that is when you know if it’s real love or not.” –nobelle
“I agree, it’s a matter of time frame (although that’s not even a guarantee). And in that time frame, there will be other red flags popping up every now and then. I think it’s not discrete characteristics, but patterns that describe a relationship.” –what-a-freaking-mess
“Mine used to do this all the time and I realized even in the love bombing stage it was all self serving. Sending me flowers non stop to the point where I got tired of them and then all I ever heard was, “What are the girls in the office saying?” Because HIS image of being the romantic sweet bf was more important.” – anonvic21
“Love bombing includes the N posturing to seem to be similar to you and have shared interests. However, if they are faking it they will lack any depth of knowledge about the topics they enthuse about… at least until they have time away from you to research it. What’s very telling is to watch them interact with your acquaintances who share your interests (but maybe some you haven’t mentioned yet) and see if they enthuse the same way about those things when they’re not addressing you. Love bombing includes a lot of someone else telling you how great you are, perhaps how much better you are than existing or prior SO’s. Also a lot of the N presenting self as whatever they perceive as desirable– attractive, wealthy, knowledgeable, accomplished… Consider is this person being so thoughtful and kind to you also considerate of their co-workers and the people who they interact with as service providers? How does the person deal with you saying no? Such as, rejecting their proposed plan, or refusing to answer something, or just expressing resistance in some way. N’s can’t cope with it.” –entropys_child
“I personally consider it a red flag because how can someone know me well enough to like every little thing about me from the word go? Why do they feel the need for so many compliments when actions speak louder than words? I think it comes either from a place of low self-confidence or manipulation. The person doing the love bombing hopes that the constant stream of attention, compliments, interests, etc. makes the person so enamored that they want this level of praise all the time. Then the love bomber stops or changes their tune which make the person who used to getting flattered being criticized or ignored.” –HeraBeara
“It’s basically a control and manipulation tactic. Some forms as I’ve known them is gifts or always paying for “fancy” dates out very early in courtship. Constant communication or contact such as liking your social media posts within seconds. Usually followed by pressure for a commitment within the first week or two; As I’ve known it my love-bomber demanded I delete my OLD account and then 2 days later tried to manipulate me into saying “I love you” and when I requested he slow down I got dumped.
It means shallow emotions because real love takes a while to develop and the first few weeks of dating are still the infatuation period. Also as I’ve experienced it the love bomber will say you’re beautiful when you just woke up with a touch of the flu and have eye boogies. Usually you’re bombarded with things like that along with being unique in understanding them, special, soulmate, gorgeous, the most beautiful person on Earth … once you’re hooked they start to chip away at you with constant critiques of things they once saw as awe inspiring in you. (ie: why do you always have gross eye boogies when you wake up!?!?” –Reddit User
“It’s actually considered a form of emotional abuse in extreme examples. Often times it’s part of the grooming process an abuser uses to pick their victim and prep them. It happens in all sorts of relationships, not just romantic.Imagine a lonely person, who meets someone who flatters and woos them. They hear everything they’ve been wanting to hear. So they open up, become vulnerable and then can be deeply hurt in many ways.” – Reddit User
“I experienced this [in] my marriage. I was the most wonderful creature on earth and he was Mr Perfect until we married. He openly told me “I decided to marry you the minute I saw you and I was going to say and do anything to make sure you wanted to marry me too”… And then every time I wanted to leave or left, Mr Charming and all his false promises came out for a week or two… And then things went back to normal. Lather rinse repeat. And apparently I was the bad person for not liking the ‘real’ him.
So, I’m very wary of too many syrupy compliments, moving quickly, pressure of any kind.” – Reddit User
The tragic story of Gabriel Fernandez, an eight-year-old boy who was abused and tortured by his own family members made headlines last year when his story was created into a Netflix documentary. The six-part crime documentary detailed how Fernandez’s murder came about due to local government failure and was a reminder that we all have a responsibility to keep our eyes out for victims.
In January an Orlando waitress gained national attention for doing just that.
Flavaine Carvalho saved a child abuse victim after spotting bruises on the boy’s face and arms.
Carvalho (who works as a waitress at Mrs. Potato restaurant in Orlando, Florida) was on the clock on New Year’s Day serving a family that had walked into the restaurant when she noticed their 11-year-old boy. Realizing that the boy had nothing to eat, Carvalho asked if there was something wrong with the food. The boy’s stepfather explained that the boy would eat dinner at home later. It was then that Carvalho noticed bruises on the boy’s face and arms.
“I could see he had a big scratch between his eyebrows,” Carvalho explained in a press conference to FOX 35. “Couple of minutes later, I saw a bruise on the side of his eye. So I felt there was something really wrong.”
It was then that Carvalho said she knew that she had to do something. “I could not see the boy going away without any help,” she explained.
The Orlando restaurant manager who saved the young boy was given special recognition.
Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings presented Carvalho with the Mayor’s Distinguished Resident Award at a commission meeting.
“The award is presented in recognition of your courageous efforts to identify and report child abuse to local law enforcement authorities,” Demings explained at the ceremony. At the time, Carvalho reminded everyone to speak if something happens.
“Do what you need to do to help a kid.”
Coming up with a plan, Carvalho wrote a large note to the boy that read “Do you need help?”
The waitress stood behind the boy’s parents so that they couldn’t see and held up the sign for the boy. When he nodded, Carvalho immediately called the police.
According to the 911 call, Carvalho told the dispatcher “I’m super concerned and I don’t know what to do, can you give me some advice?” Carvalho said to the dispatcher. “The boy is with bruises and he’s not eating.”
After authorities arrived, they interviewed the boy, who accused his stepfather of abuse, saying that he been tied up, hung from a door, hit with a broom, and handcuffed. The boy also said that his parents kept food from him as punishment.
Police claimed that the doctors who examined the boy said that they found bruises on his face and arms and said that he was approximately 20 pounds underweight.
Police confirmed that the boy’s stepfather has been charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse and child neglect. The boy’s mother has been charged with two counts of child neglect and admitted to knowing about the abuse and failing to help him.
The boy and another 4-year-old child were fortunately removed from the home and are now in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Police on the case have described the experience that the child endured as “torture.”
“To be honest what this child had gone through was torture,” Detective Erin Lawler told WFTV9. “There was no justification for it in any realm of the world. I’m a mother and seeing what that 11-year-old had to go through, it shocks your soul.”
The abusive parents have now been identified as the boy’s stepfather, Timothy Wilson II, 34, and the boy’s mother Kristen Swann.
“The lesson here for all of us is to recognize when we see something that isn’t right to act on it… This saved the life of a child,” Orlando Police Chief Orlando Rolon said of the incident.