Child sexual abuse can happen to anyone. I’m a living proof of it.

The name Gucci reminds me of a picture in my heart. Jet setters, celebrities, artists and models live the best lives. Prediction of wealth, status and success. Everything is derived from the perceived life experience of the Gucci family, the original creator of the brand.

movie “House of Gucci”Depicts the family as attractive Italian socialite A living fantasy lifestyle that goes beyond most human understanding. But it only scratches the surface. There is another dark side to the family that the movie does not cover. I know it because I live it.

I am the granddaughter of Aldo Gucci. Al Pacino.. 15 years my sister And I was sexually abused by my stepfather, Joseph Rafaro..

My mother made my abuser possible

For me, it started and continued when I was 6 years old Until the age of 22.. I’m sure my mother, Patricia Gucci, colluded with him to hide it in order to protect her family’s name. Not surprisingly, Rafaro denies the abuse that has happened so far, and denies that my mother and grandmother knew about it. Rafaro believes I tried to stop telling my truth by putting pressure on my mother and grandmother, hoping to withdraw the pending proceedings against him and my family.

“If this proceeding goes forward and nothing is done to prevent it, the damage can extend beyond the obvious and create problems that can seriously affect your entire property. Rafaro wrote to my mother in a 2020 email, Grandma. “There is a tax issue that you may feel free, but it certainly isn’t.”

Alexandra Zalini, Los Angeles, California, August 2020.

Alexandra Zalini, Los Angeles, California, August 2020.

I always wondered if Rafaro was holding something over her in exchange for her silence. Her father, Aldo Gucci, went to jail for tax evasion. It became clear to me that her fear of facing the same fate might have led to her decision to remain quiet.

I will not be silent. I don’t shyly live another day. Because of what my stepfather did to me, I will not live in fear. I will no longer be dominated by my family. And I no longer worry about the reputation suffered by exposing the facts about my abuse.

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I am not alone. Too many families hide or ignore child sexual abuse. From darkness to light Estimated 1 in 10 children Be sexually abused before your 18th birthday.

When 91% of child sexual abuse Performed by someone known to either the child or the child’s family. It exists in every community in every state in the United States, and in every country in the world. No one wants to admit it when it happens in the family. But that’s exactly when the family has to move forward and speak.

When we pretend it doesn’t happen, or worse, when we try to hide it, we give the abusers exactly what they want – a license to do it again. Violence against children, in all its forms, is faced and the abuser must be held accountable, no matter how difficult or painful the experience may be, in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

Come together to fight sexual abuse

There is a reason to have hope.Thursday is the first time in history World Day for Prevention, Healing and Justice to End Sexual Violence Against Children and Adolescents..It’s a job Exercise to keep children safe, Led by nine child safety organizations working on the cause. This is a moment that cannot be lost in the battle to get rid of the world from this plague.

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The stigma of child sexual abuse must end. Parents, teachers, bystanders, etc. all need to be aware of the warning signs and take action when they see or hear something that bothers us. It begins with the willingness to have an open and honest conversation about the topic. If we remain quiet, the abuser wins. We must prioritize the protection of our children and break the silence. There is hope for all survivors of child sexual abuse. I’m a living proof of it.

Alexandra Zalini is the founder of Gucci Children’s Foundation, An advocacy group that promises to end child sexual abuse.

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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Child sexual abuse: The reality of “House of Gucci” is darker than the movie

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