Today I write this important letter as a step in the healing process that I started when I joined forces to help other people who went through, and still go through, similar situations as I did.
As you know, I was sexually abused by an uncle, my father's brother. The first time he raped me, I was only four years old. He went on to abuse me so many times that I lost count. He also made me a victim of child pornography. He rented me out to his friends in hotel rooms. The years of terror lasted until I was 13. Finally, somehow, I was able to say "NO MORE!" – before he got me drunk and strangled and raped me for the last time.
I was a child with a broken soul. But over time, with therapy and the abiding love of my friends - my chosen family - I have been able to re-build the life that was snatched from me at age four. I have turned my horror into strength. As Miguel Cane wrote in his wonderful article, “Escucho" (“Listen”), "That darkness is part of you, just like your luminous side.” Some things are so hideous that we instinctively avert our gaze. But NOW is the time to stop looking away. If we act together, then my story does not have to repeat itself in the lives of other children.
In 2000, after years of healing and searching for ways to help, I founded La Casa Mandarina It is devoted to ending gender violence by using the arts for social transformation. My role there is to head projects that focus on ending child sexual abuse.
Mexico ranks first in the world in sexual abuse and child pornography, and yet it budgets the least to fighting them (only 1% of national budget dedicated to children). Statistically, one in three persons you know was sexually abused as a child.
I was one of those children.
And I am one of those survivors.
I am not ashamed. And I no longer feel guilt.
Don’t get me wrong. This letter is not a plea for pity. On the contrary, I write it to bring hope. With this letter, I announce a campaign that will end with a performance of “Secret Survivors Mexico” in November of this year. Our vision is to create awareness about child sexual abuse through stories told by the survivors themselves. We will also address the roots of gender violence. Our production will travel to various cities around Mexico to give voice to survivors that are still hiding between memories and fears. The first step to prevent this crime is putting it out. Did you know that 90% of abusers are family members or people the child trusts?
ONE IN THREE CHILDREN YOU KNOW WILL BE SEXUALLY ABUSED BEFORE THE AGE OF 18.
We can do something to change this terrifying number. We do not have to have other children with my story.
Today I ask for your support in funding the campaign of Secret Survivors Mexico and together do battle against this crime that destroys both infancy and souls.
Here is the link for donations and also you can find more information about the project:
Today I ask you to join me - and so many other voices that are already part of this project - to change this reality.
Indignation is not enough; ACT now with me to end this silent epidemic.
And to you, who survived: I believe you, it is not your fault and you are not alone.
SSMX coordinator and cast member.