Things That Matter

This Latino Author Shared His Story Of Childhood Rape In ‘The New Yorker’ And Everyone Needs To Read It

Pulitzer prize-winning writer, Junot Díaz has been bringing joy and enlightenment into our worlds through his books and words for decades. The Dominican author has written books and essays about the Latino experience on so many fascinating levels. Just this month he released a children’s book titled “Islandborn.” But now, in one of his most personal essays, Junot discloses in the New Yorker the heartbreaking details about his own childhood.

In a new essay titled: “The Silence: The Legacy of Childhood Trauma,” Junot Díaz shares that he was raped.

Yes, it happened to me,” Junot writes. “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, but today I’m telling you.”

The New Jersey writer shares that he was raped. This drove him to destructive behavior for most of his life.

“I was hiding, I was drinking, I was at the gym; I was running around with other women. I was creating model homes, and then, just as soon as they were up, abandoning them. Classic trauma psychology: approach and retreat, approach and retreat. And hurting other people in the process,” Junot writes.

People on social media have expressed how much Junot’s deeply personal essay is vital to addressing sexual abuse.

Junot’s essay has gone viral on Twitter.

Some people want the topic talked about more seriously.

While we do have stats on rape and sexual abuse when it comes to females — according to the National Crime Victimization Survey one in six females ages 13 and older are victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault — we don’t, however, have exact figures when it comes to males.

Men, particularly Latino men who have been sexually abused or raped, rarely disclose that information, let alone report it to authorities.

“And 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 imperilled,” Junot writes.

People on Twitter have spent the last couple days trying to digest the powerful essay.

It’s not easy to confront the unspoken sexual assaults that plague the boys in communities of color.

People wanted to take time to truly think through what the essay is bringing to light.

Something this strong and necessary deserves more serious thought than quick responses.

But, mostly, people are thankful that such a powerful and well-known figure is willing to shine light on sexual assault on young boys.

Thank you, Junot. We admire and appreciate your bravery.


READ: After 20 Years Junot Díaz Kept His Promise To His Goddaughters And Wrote A Picture Book

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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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