Acclaimed author Junot Díaz has shared his own story of being sexually assaulted in a new piece in The New Yorker, adding his voice to the ongoing #MeToo movement.
Díaz wrote an unflichingly honest account of the repeated childhood rape he experienced as an 8-year-old, and how that past has affected every moment of his life since.
“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. I spent more energy running from it than I did living,” Díaz wrote. “I was confused about why I didn’t fight, why I had an erection while I was being raped, what I did to deserve it. And always I was afraid – afraid that the rape had “ruined” me; afraid that I would be “found out”; afraid afraid afraid. ‘Real’ Dominican men, after all, aren’t raped. And if I wasn’t a ‘real’ Dominican man I wasn’t anything. The rape excluded me from manhood, from love, from everything.”
His story continues into his adulthood, describing in detail the effect his rape has had on every single one of his relationships, his performance in school and in work… he explains suicide attempts, breakups, and the continual cycle of hiding, of covering up, of concealing. He describes how he lost so many great loves of his life because of an inability to be completely honest and vulnerable with them about his past.
It’s an incredibly important read, and the latest major addition to the #MeToo zeitgeist, coinciding coincidentally with the beginning of the retrial of Bill Cosby on three felony accounts of sexual assault.
The piece does end with hope, with the final revelation of the dark cloud that’s plagued Díaz for so long, as evidenced by the very publication of the essay:
“I’m even in a relationship, and she knows everything about my past. I told her about what happened to me. I’ve told her, and I’ve told my friends. Even the toughest of my boys. I told them all, fuck the consequences. Something I never thought possible.”
Read the full thing here.