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.
Junot Díaz confronts the legacy of childhood trauma: “I never told anyone what happened, but today I’m telling you. And anyone else who cares to listen.” https://t.co/10sppKlLRn pic.twitter.com/fAmaYXE55L
— The New Yorker (@NewYorker) April 9, 2018
“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.
Trauma is stronger than any mask; it can’t be buried and it can’t be killed. It’s the revenant that won’t stop, the ghost that’s always coming for you.
Junot Diaz on the trauma of childhood sexual abuse #ptsd #ACEshttps://t.co/loUE7oIWRf pic.twitter.com/iyBN21qWby
— Iseult White (@iseult) April 10, 2018
“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.
You should stop whatever you're doing and read this essay by Junot Díazhttps://t.co/ZYqgs06Trn
— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) April 9, 2018
Junot’s essay has gone viral on Twitter.
Some people want the topic talked about more seriously.
V. strange to see people praising Junot Diaz's piece and not contend with the topic at all. Yes, the sentences are beautiful. The mechanics+structure of his prose are a sight to behold but maybe also sit with this disclosure of sexual trauma+ intergenerational harm a bit longer
— Aminatou Sow (@aminatou) April 9, 2018
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.
Junot Díaz on sexual assault, trauma, and intergenerational harm throughout the diaspora is what you need to read right this moment.
— Morgan Jerkins (@MorganJerkins) April 9, 2018
“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.
One of the most painfully honest pieces I've read. Whew. Tough but necessary read. "Trauma is stronger than the mask.." Felt this in my bones. Thank you Junot Diaz. https://t.co/ElN43G2NlP
— Gabrielle Union (@itsgabrielleu) April 9, 2018
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.
i'm leaving the internet for the day. The Junot Díaz article isn't meant for hot takes and I know that's all there'll be.
— Amanda Alcantara (@YoSoy_Amanda) April 9, 2018
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.
that junot díaz essay just broke my heart. i know he's not gonna read this, but fuerza y solidaridad, hermano. we're grateful for you.
— D A (@DanielGAlarcon) April 9, 2018
Thank you, Junot. We admire and appreciate your bravery.