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I Am a Complicated Latina Feminist, Ending Violence

RH Reality Check | 3-6-2013

Last month after a dinner, I was sitting in my friend’s car, and for the first time in our two-year relationship, we discussed our shared experience of growing up with abusive fathers and abused mothers who did nothing to save us. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to be more transparent about the experiences I had growing up, opening up in ways that go beyond the obligatory statement that my dad isn’t a nice man.

“How do you explain this to people?” I asked my friend. “How do you explain that you were terrorized by your parent when you were a kid, continue to endure their abuse as an adult, and still go out of your way to help and care for them?”

My friend, who finds himself in oddly similar circumstances to mine, replied, “You can’t explain it. It’s cultural.”

I am a 28-year-old Latina feminist who lives with her dad. Every day, I pack his lunch for work. Every day, I make him dinner and literally serve him his meal. I buy all of his groceries. I give him money. I help him pay the mortgage and utility bills. I can afford to move out and live on my own, but I don’t because I feel an obligation to look after my father.

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