Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz published a powerful New Yorker article Monday that grapples with the trauma of being raped as a child. "I never told anyone what happened, but today I'm telling you," Díaz writes.
The piece is addressed to an anonymous "X" who asked Díaz — the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and This Is How You Lose Her — about the sexual abuse in his books, and if it had happened to him. Díaz writes that he was "too scared in those days to say anything" and that he "responded with some evasive bulls--t" to X's question. Years later, "I think about silence; I think about shame, I think about loneliness," Díaz reflects. "I think about the hurt I caused."
Díaz writes that there are "not enough pages in the world to describe what it did to me," adding that "more than being Dominican, more than being an immigrant, more, even, than being of African descent, my rape defined me." Despite putting on a mask, and despite his "silence," Díaz says:
The nightmares, the intrusions, the hiding, the doubts, the confusion, the self-blame, the suicidal ideation — they didn't go away just because I buried my neighborhood, my family, my face. The nightmares, the intrusions, the hiding, the doubts, the confusion, the self-blame, the suicidal ideation — they followed. All through college. All through graduate school. All through my professional life. All through my intimate life. (Leaked into my writing, too, but you'd be amazed how easy it is to rewrite the truth away.)
Didn't matter how far I ran or what I achieved or who I was with — they followed. [The New Yorker]
Read his entire piece at The New Yorker.