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Health and Sanity

Valentina Nicolae
Journalist
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piqer: Valentina Nicolae
Sunday, 15 April 2018

The Silence: The Legacy Of Childhood Trauma

Junot Diaz writes about his experience dealing with the trauma of having been sexually abused as a child. This is one of those stories of which I believe there can’t be enough because, as the saying goes, if it helps just one victim, then it’s done its job. Right from the beginning Diaz says that he never told anybody about what had happened to him. He never got therapy or any kind of help. What follows is a detailed account of the numerous ways that this silence affected his life.

From the depression and uncontrollable rage episodes that started at eleven, three years after his abuse, through holding a gun to his head at fourteen, failings in school and suicide attempts later on, all the way through relationships that didn’t work out because of his inability to open up, we get a long, painful walk in Diaz’s shoes.

This paragraph, about what the abuse did to his world as a child, stayed with me:

That violación. Not enough pages in the world to describe what it did to me. The whole planet could be my inkstand and it still wouldn’t be enough. That shit cracked the planet of me in half, threw me completely out of orbit, into the lightless regions of space where life is not possible. I can say, truly, que casi me destruyó. Not only the rapes but all the sequelae: the agony, the bitterness, the self-recrimination, the asco, the desperate need to keep it hidden and silent. It fucked up my childhood. It fucked up my adolescence. It fucked up my whole life. More than being Dominican, more than being an immigrant, more, even, than being of African descent, my rape defined me.”
The Silence: The Legacy Of Childhood Trauma
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