Gloria Estefan reveals painful story of being sexually abused at 9: 'He was family'
Gloria Estefan recently revealed that she was sexually abused at the age of nine by someone her mother trusted. During an episode of 'Red Table Talk: The Estefans', the Cuban-American superstar opened up about the assault and how it affected her. "He was family, but not close 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," the singer said.
Estefan was born in Cuba and moved to Miami with her family as a child. She talked about the abuse on the show, which featured Clare Crawley. Crawley opened up about how a priest had sexually abused her when she was a child. The episode was called "Betrayed by Trusted Adults".
Estefan sat at the round table with daughter Emily Estefan and niece Lili Estefan, and said that "93% of abused children know and trust their abusers, and I know this, because I was one of them." "You’ve waited for this moment a long time," her niece told her. The three of them held hands with tears in their eyes.
Estefan did not reveal her abuser's name. She said that the abuse began little by little, but then moved fast. She revealed that she had tried to stop him. "I told him, ‘This cannot happen, you cannot do this.’ He goes: ‘Your father’s in Vietnam, your mother’s alone and I will kill her if you tell her,’" Estefan said. "And I knew it was crazy, because at no point did I ever think that it was because of me that this was happening. I knew the man was insane and that’s why I thought he might actually hurt my mother."
Estefan began to make excuses so she would not be sent to her music lessons. When her daughter Emily asked her if her grandmother suspected something was amiss, Estefan replied that back then, people did not usually talk about these things. Voice tapes she had exchanged with her father while he was posted in Vietnam were played at the show. The recordings, made in Spanish when Estefan was nine, were played with English subtitles.
Gloria: "I’m taking guitar lessons. I like them but the exercises are a little hard."
Her dad: "Mommy tells me that he said that you are a born artist."
Unable to bear the pain anymore, one night Estefan told her mother what was happening. When her mother called the police, she was advised by the officers to not press charges because a nine-year-old's trauma while testifying could be harmful. Estefan revealed that until now, nobody except her family knew about the incident. When her mother inquired about the man within the family, she learned that there was an aunt who had also been abused by him. Estefan refused to make further comments, including if the abuser is still alive.