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Last month, I was heartbroken to learn of Junot Diaz’s childhood trauma. In a riveting piece written for The New Yorker, Diaz explained how being raped by a trusted adult (a man) at the age of eight changed his life forever. “That sh*t cracked the planet of me in half, threw me completely out of orbit, into the lightless regions of space where life is not possible.”

The essay spends a great deal of time speaking about the ways in which the incident impacted his relationships with women, particularly the women who loved him most. He writes about dating women in hopes that they could heal him, often times hurting them along the way.

He writes: “I was hiding, I was drinking, I was at the gym; I was running around with other women. I was creating model homes, and then, just as soon as they were up, abandoning them. Classic trauma psychology: approach and retreat, approach and retreat. And hurting other people in the process.”

From the trajectory of the rest of his essay, it would seem that hurting people was limited to not being entirely truthful, being emotionally distant and cheating on his girlfriends. That would have been enough. And at the time his essay was published, there were several people who questioned whether Diaz’s own hurt, excused him passing it on to other people, women, many of them Black and of color, in various forms. The conclusion was that no, it wasn’t.

But apparently, the hurt Diaz was doling out was a bit more sinister.

Fellow author, Zinzi Clemmons recently shared this tweet about her experiences with Diaz.

Clemmons’ admission caused people to wonder about the true intentions of The New Yorker piece.

The admission also resulted in other women stepping forward with other, bizarre interactions with Diaz.

Sadly, the whole thing proves how, instead of addressing their own pain, far too many many would rather pass it on to other people. And while what happened to Diaz is certainly the root of some of his hurtful behaviors, it doesn’t absolve him of the way he’s treated women over the years.


Veronica Wells is the culture editor at She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
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