Gloria Estefan says she was sexually assaulted at music school at age 9
NEW YORK (AP) — Gloria Estefan has revealed that when she was 9, she was sexually abused by someone her mother trusted.
The Cuban-American superstar spoke publicly about the abuse and its effects on her for the first time during an episode of the Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk: The Estefans” that aired Thursday.
“He was part of the family, but not of the immediate family. He was in a position of power because my mom put me in her music school and he immediately started telling her how talented I was and how much I needed special attention, and she felt lucky that he was focusing that kind of attention on me. said the singer.
Estefan, who was born in Cuba and moved to Miami with her family when she was a toddler, exposed the abuse atop the show, which featured Claire Crowley, the first Latina “Bachelorette.” In the episode titled “Betrayed by Trusted Adults”, Crowley opened up about the child abuse she suffered at the hands of a priest.
The Associated Press generally does not identify victims of sexual abuse unless they agree to be named or share their stories publicly.
Sitting at the red round table with her co-hosts – her daughter Emily Estefan and her niece Lili Estefan – Estefan began by saying that “93% of abused children know and trust their abusers, and I know that, because I I was one of them.”
“You’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time,” her niece told her.
“I did,” Estefan replied.
The three held hands with watery eyes.
She did not name her attacker but described how she tried to stop him. She said the abuse started small before going fast, and she knew she was in a dangerous situation after confronting him.
“I told him, ‘That can’t happen, you can’t do that.’ He says, ‘Your father is in Vietnam, your mother is alone and I will kill her if you tell her,’” Estefan said. “And I knew it was crazy, because at no time did I think it was because of me that this was happening. I knew this man was crazy and that’s why I thought that he might actually hurt my mom.
Estefan said she started making up excuses to avoid going to music lessons. Her daughter Emily asked if her grandmother had any idea something was going on. People didn’t talk about these things back then, Estefan replied.
She tried to reach her father, with whom she exchanged voice tapes while he was stationed in Vietnam.
Spanish language recordings from when Estefan was 9 years old played on the show with English subtitles:
Gloria: “I take guitar lessons. I like them but the exercises are a little hard.
His father: “Mom told me that the owner of the academy where you take your guitar lessons is very proud of you.”
Gloria: “I like the notes, but it’s a bit boring to study the notes.”
His dad: “Mom tells me he said you’re a born artist.”
Estefan said the level of anxiety caused him to lose a “circle of hair”.
“I couldn’t take it anymore,” she said, so one night she ran to her mother’s room at 3 a.m. and told her what was going on.
Her mother called the police, but the officers advised her not to press charges because the trauma of testifying would be too harmful.
Crowley and Estefan said on the show that they didn’t like being called victims. Crowley called herself a survivor.
Estefan said she didn’t tell the producers she was going to reveal her story in Thursday’s episode. No one knew about the abuse except her family, said the singer, who has been married to music producer Emilio Estefan for more than four decades.
She also said that when her mother started asking about this man in the family, an aunt shared that he had abused her for years in Cuba.
The Associated Press asked the show’s publicist if Estefan could answer some questions, including whether the man was still alive. The publicist told the AP she would not comment further.
On “Red Table Talk,” Estefan recalled almost going public in the mid-’80s, when her hit “Conga” with the Miami Sound Machine topped the Billboard charts and “that predator, who was a member respected in the community”, had the audacity to write a letter to a newspaper criticizing his music.
“At that point, I was so mad that I was about to blow the whole thing up,” she said. “And then I thought, ‘All my success is going to turn into him!
“It’s manipulation and control, but that’s what they do, they take your power,” she added, also admitting that the fear that there could be other victims makes you feel bad.
After introducing Crowley and telling her she didn’t want to sit quietly while she shared her story, Estefan said she was waiting for the right opportunity and space to tell hers.
The show was that space.
“That’s one of the reasons I said yes to the ‘(Red) Table (Talk)’, because we wanted to create this space where we talk about important things that hopefully will make a difference. for anyone watching out there.”