My name is Silvia Roxana Piceda, I was sexually abused between 9 and 11 years old approximately, by people close to my home. When I told my parents, they did nothing. The subject was never discussed at home, and no one was ever consulted to find out if there were any consequences for me.
The impact of the abuse was very significant, and as I become more engaged with the issue and hear multiple testimonies from colleagues who suffered the same crime, the more I realize the enormous dimension of the damage.
I say this today, after having walked some searching paths, but for many, many years, the subject of sexual abuse was just part of my childhood for me. I never denied it or forgot it, but I did downplay it, as I thought I could move on and that it was simply something that remained in my past and from which I was already safe. I am in fact professional, financially independent, and not submissive to any person of power: characteristics that made me think that the "issue" of childhood sexual abuse was behind me.
But in 2009 Romina, the eldest daughter of my daughter Jazmín's biological father, appeared in my life. She had the great courage to look for me to tell me that she had been sexually abused by this man when she was the same age as Jazmín at that time and that now she was determined to defend her from her aggressor. Beautiful courage that led her to legally denounce the abuse she had suffered in her childhood but that the Judiciary did not even investigate, considering that the deadlines to do so were "prescribed".
This brought my worst nightmare to the present: childhood sexual abuse was not in my past, nor was it a sad anecdote from my childhood, since the person I love most in the world, my then 11-year-old daughter, was at risk because I had fallen in love and conceived her with an abuser with whom Jasmin continued to have contact, even though I had been separated from him since 2004.
There begins the other nightmare, the journey that as a mother, trying to protect my daughter, I began in the family courts of the city of La Plata, Province of Buenos Aires. Calvary that included the great injustice of having to abruptly escape with Jazmin from our home and daily life to protect her from an aberrant court order of "bonding" with her father denounced for abuse, which was issued by Judge Hugo Rondina. This led us to have to live clandestinely for a while and start a new life in the City of Buenos Aires, without being able to return for years to our home and rural way of life in Abasto, a rural area of the La Plata district, where our beloved animals and plants were also abandoned to their fate.
During this journey from pain to pain and from anguish to anguish, I felt the need to meet other mothers who were going through the same horror: knowing that their sons and daughters had been abused by the man we had chosen as our partner. For me, the bodily sensation, the fear inscribed in my body after the news (despite having been separated from the offender for several years before), was a painful and indescribable sensation. I also wanted to share with others our findings and hopes regarding our relationship with our sons and daughters, our legal cases, our life after the horror.
Thus was born a peer support group of mothers: "madres protectoras" (protective mothers).
In October 2012, a protective mother told me that she met an adult survivor who had achieved the trial and conviction of his abuser after a long struggle and was publicly sharing his testimony to address the issue from a collective perspective. Then I met Sebastián Cuattromo, with whom, in addition to forming the group Adultxs por los Derechos de la Infancia, we fell in love, we are a couple and we have been living as a family for years.
This is how the group was born as it is today, from its two aspects: one of peer support, where all the adults who are concerned about the problem now gather, and the other of public visibility, which leads us to travel around Argentina offering our testimonies to the community in the most diverse social environments.
In these years I have seen Jazmin grow and develop, being today a young woman with dreams, enthusiasm and commitment to her and everyone's childhood, a joy that is possible thanks to Romina's truth, a truth that forced me to be a protective mother.
In 2017 we achieved the recovery of our house and place in the world in Abasto, after years of looting and abandonment, and which today is one of the headquarters of our Civil Association.
To sum up: my name is Silvia Roxana Piceda, I am a survivor of sexual abuse against children and a protective mother. I believe that it is fundamental to join with others to share experiences, strengths and hopes, and I also believe that I have the obligation as an adult that my testimony serves to protect children and adolescents who today are suffering from this crime and to support the adults who try to protect them.
Today I know that Childism will help us to live with joy and fraternity as we try to relate from and with the most vulnerable of all: children and adolescents.
My life is happier and fuller since I look at myself with love and tenderness and accept myself as the frightened, violated and lonely girl I was. And when I work and share with others the deep desire that this injustice does not happen anymore, there is something in me that heals, there is something in me that resembles peace.