Joanna Maranhão speaks openly to the Stock Exchange of abuse: “He was a hero to me”

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The pool is almost the natural habitat Joanna Maranhão. He was in it who lived his happiest and also the most traumatic moments: the joy of the numerous medals defending Brazil contrasts with the terrible memories that childhood guard time when sexually abused. The attacker, coach who inspired the girl still in the beginning of his career in swimming, has left deep marks on the life and career of Joanna. In an interview with Bolsa de Mulher, Joanna speaks openly about this delicate moment of his life.


abuser's entry into the life of Joanna

The first contact with the swimming was at three years of age. Classes in Portuguese Club in Recife (PE), Joanna land, have always been fun for her and made part of every childhood. The process was natural: children began participating in championships, show a great performance and went on to win titles and I like the athlete's life. In the middle of this process, when I was eight, a new technical joined the teaching staff of the club. And he totally changed his life.

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The pool is almost the natural habitat Joanna Maranhão. He was in it who lived his happiest and also the most traumatic moments: the joy of the numerous medals defending Brazil contrasts with the terrible memories that childhood guard time when sexually abused. The attacker, coach who inspired the girl still in the beginning of his career in swimming, has left deep marks on the life and career of Joanna. In an interview with Bolsa de Mulher, Joanna speaks openly about this delicate moment of his life.

abuser's entry into the life of Joanna

The first contact with the swimming was at three years of age. Classes in Portuguese Club in Recife (PE), Joanna land, have always been fun for her and made part of every childhood. The process was natural: children began participating in championships, show a great performance and went on to win titles and I like the athlete's life. In the middle of this process, when I was eight, a new technical joined the teaching staff of the club. And he totally changed his life.

As Joanna's performance in the pool has improved a lot from the training, family swimmer has to rely much in the coach's job. "Our families were close, we socialized a lot, traveled together to the beach or field, I slept at his house, his kids in my, my parents trusted him a lot. I evolved in swimming through his work in the first year, it made my parents more trusted. And I thought he was like a hero to me, he treated me as the star of the team and a prodigy, I trusted him a lot"He recalls.

As happened abuse

After a year of partnership, the nine-year-old Joanna started living the nightmare. "It was a morning that were just me and him in the pool. I walked home with him from the bus, he did not drive, so when the training ended, I had to wait for him to go home. And so it began". And these abuses were frequent throughout the second half of 1996.

During this period, he went to take her to the house where he lived with his wife and children, always after workouts, to make it easier for her to go to school in the afternoon. And the morning began like this: while the coach's wife taught and their children studied, Joanna suffered sexual abuse at the house of one who, until then, was her mirror and inspiration of life.

Lost innocence

"I knew it was not right, but did not know what it was and did not know what to do, whom to ask for help. I would say that if I did not know what was going on?". Joanna report is similar to many victims of sexual violence in childhood. The innocence and fragility of children are commonly used by abusers to practice aggression. And they often are accompanied by promises that children do remain silent. "He asked me to smile, spoke it was almost over and asked to not to tell anyone. He never threatened me, I think he had a hold on me and knew I would not count".

But these abuses reflected in the attitudes of the swimmer. Joanna asked his mother to change shifts at school (as she studied the afternoon and abuses always happened the morning after swimming, when the coach house was empty). Her idea was to train in a larger group of students, not to be alone with the coach. Also, leaving the afternoon workout, parents could get it at the exit, avoiding that was to go to the house of the abuser. The attempt did not work, the mother did not understand why. The result was that, although still in the same turn, Joanna went on to attend the afternoon practice, as wanted. Thus, it was the morning at home, studying in the afternoon and left the school before the end of the last class to go to training. This caused the suffering of swimmer finally did end.

"I took this decision not to train in the morning and from there the abuse stopped, he could not be alone with me. I waited to pass the major championship of the year and asked to change clubs. My mother did not understand, but I said it was because I was swimming badly and, indeed, after the abuse I took a compounded in the times. So head on, it made sense, and I left the club in which he was"Says, recalling a later episode to this event. "Had a day I did not want to sleep in his house and my mother insisted, she said I was being rude. I went to grudgingly and when I saw it approaching the room started screaming, said he wanted to leave and go home. His wife did not understand anything. My parents were for me and never returned there".

Tell about the abuse: a very difficult mission

When he realized what was living, Joanna probed some friends who trained with her to find out if this was happening to other girls. However, the reaction with strangeness by the pool companions made her flinch and kept silent. Gradually he tried to tell some family. But, as in many cases child abuse, they could not believe the story.

"It was absurdly difficult. Told in parts for my great aunt (who passed away), also I tried to tell my mother. I said something like, 'I think he tried to kiss me.' But Mainha then said, 'is the father of affection, you confused, he is very fond of you.' And then I preferred to not touch it anymore". The great aunt came to distrust, but Joanna's mother did not believe it was true. "I think as we were very close, really thought I confuse a caring, because I could not say, "he put his hand on my swimsuit '".

Guarding the story and key, the swimmer started to feel guilty. I wondered what would have done to bring those attitudes by the coach. Also, he felt disgusted with herself. According to her, these were the worst feelings that had since it happened.

emotional consequences

In adolescence, these memories began to bother most Joanna. She began to suffer from depression, panic disorder, phobia developed dark and stuttering (today hangs a few words when it gets more nervous). Reflections also came sexual life, causing her to have real panic of some practices such as oral sex - a problem overcome after a time stable relationship with understandable partners who helped make her feel more at ease to engage sexually.

Joanna attempted suicide twice. The first, in 2006, she understands that you have full connection to all that lived. "I was at the height of therapy, going to deep into the emotions and thought it would not take". The second attempt took place in 2013, by financial problems. "I believe that I never would have actually courage to end my own life. I wanted to escape that feeling and take medicine seemed the solution. It's stupid, I know, but I forgive myself for it, which is the most important".

Career ups and downs

joanna maranhao sexual abuse testimony reported water 2Playback / InstagramJoanna was a major highlight in the pools, but fell from income due to emotional problems

Throughout his career, Pernambuco gained ground and stood out with excellent results in the pool, becoming one of the main Brazilian swimmers of all time. But also suffered income declines and rather troubled times, that blend with the emotional problems faced by it.

It shone in the eyes of the general public at 16 in Santo Domingo Games in 2003. And all Brazil has hope for the future after swimmer Joanna reach the final at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when he won the best position of an athlete Brazilian in the competition. The hard times came shortly thereafter, with disqualifications and followed low in important disputes. It was in 2008, when asked about this fall, Joanna revealed publicly suffer from emotional problems due to abuse suffered in childhood.

Still we had some remarkable achievements, but announced retirement in January 2014. Joanna abandoned pools to devote to other projects, such as the NGO Free Childhood, which created to combat pedophilia (read more below). During this period he experienced great financial difficulties and decided to return to the pools, announcement in December of the same year. Now, in 2015, at age 28, he came roaring back to the pools and have excelled at Pan Toronto, which won the silver medal.

Case Law Dissemination and Joanna Maranhão

After speaking openly about what he suffered, the case gained wide repercussion. Joanna did not expect. "I never wanted to report it, I just felt the urge to talk about it because I was asked about my income fall, my change over the years and I wanted to tell the process I went through, I never thought it would take this proportion".

joanna maranhao sexual abuse account statement lPlayback / InstagramJoanna was a major highlight in the pools, but fell from income due to emotional problems

Throughout his career, Pernambuco gained ground and stood out with excellent results in the pool, becoming one of the main Brazilian swimmers of all time. But also suffered income declines and rather troubled times, that blend with the emotional problems faced by it.

It shone in the eyes of the general public at 16 in Santo Domingo Games in 2003. And all Brazil has hope for the future after swimmer Joanna reach the final at the Athens Olympics in 2004, when he won the best position of an athlete Brazilian in the competition. The hard times came shortly thereafter, with disqualifications and followed low in important disputes. It was in 2008, when asked about this fall, Joanna revealed publicly suffer from emotional problems due to abuse suffered in childhood.

Still we had some remarkable achievements, but announced retirement in January 2014. Joanna abandoned pools to devote to other projects, such as the NGO Free Childhood, which created to combat pedophilia (read more below). During this period he experienced great financial difficulties and decided to return to the pools, announcement in December of the same year. Now, in 2015, at age 28, he came roaring back to the pools and have excelled at Pan Toronto, which won the silver medal.

Case Law Dissemination and Joanna Maranhão

After speaking openly about what he suffered, the case gained wide repercussion. Joanna did not expect. "I never wanted to report it, I just felt the urge to talk about it because I was asked about my income fall, my change over the years and I wanted to tell the process I went through, I never thought it would take this proportion".

The coach accused by Joanna decided to sue the swimmer and her mother for defamation and slander, which started a great debate about the case. At the time, training abroad, Joanna wrote a letter to be read in court. In it, he wrote reaffirming all that suffered.

Excerpts from the letter: "I mean the fact that he had me naked in the bed and his wife have bolinado me while I cried and asked to stop is still a fact that hurts and disgusts me, but it did not beat me". "I am dependent on antidepressant and for all that I am here today, even by words, ready to fight for justice. For if the fear and shame me silent for 12 years, did not shut me more", "No child, in fact, no human being deserves to be played that way. Pedophilia is a disease and it is sad that a man did not have the ability to control a child's face", "I trusted that man, credited my evolution in the sport to him and when I began to be touched thought it was my fault, I thought I had done something wrong, which was sinning, when in fact I was the victim", "I only ask you, for God's sake, justice do not let this man touching any more child".

And so Joanna became defendant. "It seems ironic, but that's how the history of the law began"Says the swimmer, referring to Law 12,650 of 2012, which caused changes in the Brazilian penal code says about pedophilia, and was named Joanna Maranhão in honor of the athlete.

What the law says Joanna Maranhão

When the case became public, Joanna was 21 and the case had prescribed. Even though she as evidence the word of the psychiatrist who treated her and the testimony of two other girls who he would also have abused, nothing could be done against the aggressor. And the Law 12,650 that caused changes to be able to report cases of child abuse as an adult.

Based on this determination, the deadline for the complaint is larger and can be counted from the victim's age. In other words, only after the person turns 18 start counting the time for that crime prescribe - time which varies according to the type of crime committed.

Overcoming trauma

To get rid of the pain of those memories, Joanna sought treatment. We made different types of therapy, jumping from doctors in medical until you find what most pleased him. He attended psychiatrist and takes prescription drug today. In addition, attributes overcoming the trauma also the yoga classes that makes every morning to their own swimming and also to spiritualism.

"There were a few steps, I was evolving, verbalizing, overcoming, recognizing me through it, and today I am able and ready to help people who are meeting also, it helps me a lot, brings meaning to what passed".

NGO Free Childhood

Help others who have gone through what Joanna has is her goal with the NGO Free Childhood, which created in 2014. Through the project, the swimmer provides emergency treatment to children and parents seeking the NGO, giving legal advice, medical and psychological. In addition, sex education classes are part of the work being given to children and professionals working with children, one of the most defended by Joanna points. "sex education for children is the solution and supervision of professionals working with children in all areas".

As advice to victims, Joanna recommended not hide the trauma and seek help. "Talk, verbalize, you are not the only victims are never, seek help and not be silent. Talking is a form of vomiting and start an internal cleanliness".

Was last

The trauma has no cure, but it was in the past. "There is no cure because it is not a disease, the patient is the aggressor. What I see and feel is that the domino effect and found the balance to live beyond occurred"Celebrates.

And that's how Joanna expect to live going forward to continue being a mirror to sexually abused in childhood: living, being happy and full, showing that life exists through and despite the traumas.

"I would do it all again, because today, I who controls my life, abuse is a factor in my life, a heavy indeed, but it is an isolated incident, it does not command my future, and if I had not gone the way trailed, I would be hostage to this day this past".

joanna maranhao sexual abuse reporting testimony happy bPlayback / Instagram"Today I who controls my life"Celebrates Joanna after overcoming the trauma of childhood abuse

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