NEW YORK (AP) – Gloria Estefan has revealed that, at age 9, she was sexually abused by someone her mother trusted.
The Cuban-American superstar spoke publicly for the first time about the abuse and its effects during an episode of the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk: The Estefans” that aired Thursday.
“That was family, but not close family. He was in a position of power because my mother put me in her music school and she immediately began to tell her how talented I was and that I needed special attention, and she felt lucky to have this kind of music. Attention was focused on me. said the singer.
Estefan, who was born in Cuba and moved with her family to Miami when she was a child, revealed the abuse at the top of the show to Claire Crowley, the first Latina “Bachelorette.” On the episode “Betrayal by Trusted Adults”, Crowley talks about child abuse at the hands of a priest.
The Associated Press does not typically identify victims of sexual abuse unless they have agreed to be named or to share their stories publicly.
Sitting at the round red table with his co-hosts – daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lily Estefan – Estefan opened up by saying that “93% of abused children know and trust their abusers, and I know it , because I was one of them.”
His niece told him, “You have waited a long time for this moment.”
“I have,” replied Estefan.
All three held hands with teary eyes.
He did not name his abuser but told how he tried to stop him. She said the abuse started a little before quickly progressing, and she knew she was in a dangerous position after confronting her.
“I told him, ‘It can’t happen, you can’t do it.’ He goes: ‘Your father is in Vietnam, your mother is alone and I will kill her if you tell her,'” said Estefan. “And I knew it was crazy, because at no point did I ever think Was that it was happening because of me. I knew the man was crazy and so I thought he might have really hurt my mom. “
Estefan said that he started making excuses to avoid taking music lessons. Her daughter Emily asked if her grandmother had any sense that something was going on. People didn’t talk about those things at the time, Estefan replied.
He tried to reach out to his father, with whom he exchanged voice tapes while he was stationed in Vietnam.
Recordings in Spanish were played on the show with English subtitles from when Estefan was 9 years old:
Gloria: “I’m taking guitar lessons. I like them but the practice is a little hard.”
Her father: “Mom told me that the owner of the academy where you are learning guitar is very proud of you.”
Gloria: “I love notes, but studying notes is a little boring”.
Her father: “Mom tells me she said you’re a born artist.”
Estefan said the level of anxiety caused him to lose his “hair cycle.”
“I couldn’t bear it anymore,” she said, so one night she went to her mom’s bedroom at 3 a.m. and told her what was happening.
Her mother called the police, but officers advised her not to charge because the trauma of testifying would be too damaging.
Crowley and Estefan both said during the show that they don’t like being called victims. Crowley describes himself as a Survivor.
Estefan said she didn’t tell producers she was going to reveal her story on Thursday’s episode. No one knew about the abuse other than her family, said the singer, who has been married to music producer Emilio Estefan for four decades.
She also said that, when her mother began to inquire about this man within the family, an aunt shared that she had abused him in Cuba.
The Associated Press asked the show’s publicist if Estefan could answer some questions, including whether the man was still alive. The campaigner told the AP that she would not comment further.
On “Red Table Talk”, Estefan recalls going almost public in the mid-80s, when his hit “Kanga” with the Miami Sound Machine topped the Billboard charts and “This Hunter, a respected member of the community.” ,” had the audacity to write a letter criticizing his music.
“At the time, I was so angry that I was about to shut everything down,” she said. “And then I thought: ‘My whole success is going to turn into that!
“It’s manipulation and control, but that’s what they do, they take your power,” she also admitted, acknowledging the fear that others might be victims makes her feel bad.
After introducing Crowley and telling her that she didn’t want to sit quietly while sharing her story, Estefan said she was waiting for the right opportunity and place to tell her.
The show was that space.
“That’s one of the reasons why I said yes to ‘(Red) Table (Talk)’, because we wanted to make this space where we talk about important things that will hopefully appeal to everyone who sees there.” Will make a difference.”