On Facebook Watch show Red Table Talk, Grammy Award winner Gloria Estefan shared she was sexually abused as a child. The Cuban American singer, songwriter, actress, and businesswoman sitting alongside her daughter Emily and niece Lili, said “93 percent of abused children know and trust their abusers, and I know this because I was one of them.”
During the show, the Estefans showed support after Gloria’s declarations, applauding her courage to speak up and show support for women who have been victims and survivors. Estefan explained that the abuser was in a position of power and was part of the family.
“He was in a position of power because my mother had put me in his music school and he immediately started telling her how talented I was and how I needed special attention, and she felt lucky that he was focusing this kind of attention on me.” She continued to explain that the abuse started with small actions but went far.
The abuser used fear to manipulate her and maintain her quiet, as he said that he could kill her mother if she said anything. Estefan then shared that this was the reason why she kept it a secret for a long time until her anxiety was too high to keep quiet.
“A circle of hair fell out of my head from anxiety. Finally one morning at 3 in the morning, I just ran to my mother’s room because I couldn’t take it anymore and I told her about what was going on,” Estefan said.
Once her mom realized what was happening, she informed the police but they advised Gloria not to press charges against her abuser to avoid “worse traumas in the future.” Estefan then added that she regrets not pressing charges because she believes there might be other victims who went through the same experience and the abuser did not have to face any consequences. The last piece of advice Estefan wanted parents to get from her experience – talk to your children from a young age so they know when to speak up if they see or experience something unusual, no matter who the abuser is.
Fans and watchers showed support for the singer in the comments.
“Thank you all for your sharing & helping so many living in silence today,” one supporter wrote.
Red Table Talk: The Estefans was recently renewed for a second season. The show stars Gloria Estefan, her daughter Emily Estefan and her niece Lili Estefan. They told E! News they would cover topics like colorism in future episodes. It is available to stream on Facebook Watch.
If you or a loved one has experienced sexual assault, remember there are many organizations where you can find free and confidential support. Visit rainn.org to read survivor stories or talk to someone any time.