Vinka Jackson - Santiago Chile
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There are times in your life I am certain when you feel that it must be necessary to make a stand about an issue. Sometimes we make a stand that is rather unimportant to society as a whole (while it may be important to us as an individual), sometimes we join with a group that already supports our issue, sometimes we take the lead and start a movement that survives time (Dr. Martin Luther King did this), and sometimes we simply do something that assists others who have had this same issue.

I do not have the capability to write about the issue of child abuse, but someone that is very dear to me has had the courage to do this.

Her name is Vinka Jackson and she has published the book titled - "Aqua Fresca En Los Espejos", subtitled 'Abuso Sexual Infantil y Resiliencia' in her native country of Chile. This book is published by the publishing company called Aquilar and can be ordered on their website:
 
http://www.santillana.cl/aguilar/detalleLibro.php?recordID=1073

The English title of this book is 'Fresh Waters in the Mirror".

The reviews on this book within South America have been outstanding. While they recognize the difficult issue of child abuse that was presented in the book, they applaud the style of the writing and the fact that someone survived abuse and had the courage to write a story about it.

Please Google Vinka Jackson and you will find many articles about her and her book, along with TV, Radio, Newspaper, and International Book Fair writeups.

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Horror and wonder

Nación Domingo Newspaper (May 6, 2007)

By Marco Antonio de la Parra (*)
 

It is impossible to come away untouched after reading a book like “Agua fresca en los espejos” (Fresh Water in the Mirrors), by Vinka Jackson. This story about sexual child abuse, is written with a magnificent prose and a non frequent compassion, intersecting pain and love with style and quality, and it had been partially told before by Andrea Maturana (author) of “El Daño” (The Damage), the remarkable novel – one of the best of what was called the New Chilean Narrative - that almost became a movie and that soon will be make its debut in Spain.

 “El daño” was and still is a tough book, edgy, unforgettable. Vinka Jackson, to whom the book “El Daño” is dedicated, decided to tell her story herself -supported, amongst others, by Andrea Maturana- and ended up writing “Agua Fresca en los Espejos” to transform her cruel and unforgivable story of sexual abuse in hands of her father, repeatedly and shared with other men, in a moving narration, impossible to forget; a story that will never fall in the category of yellow-press denounce, but instead is always a reflection about the love that could not exist between a father and a daughter, about the confused bodies of sex and affection, about the body that dies and the body that gets ill, and about the force of words that extracts grace from horror.

When you read this book, a cataract effect happens and its more than 300 pages can be devoured, breathless. Above its strength, this story is major: one of those that return its sacred condition to words. Vinka writes in the name of compassion, for a path of redemption that is almost impossible and uphill, for both victims and perpetrators. A story of love or rather about the passage from no love to love, which is possibly the toughest topic to write about, and I was left trembling after its reading. It questions me about all those children, abused in so many places worldwide, even made an industry, trading small bodies as the cruelest of merchandises.

I remember that the Children’s Right Convention has not been signed yet by the United States. I think of the right to one’s name, to one’s body, to good treatment, to love, to protection. This book is caustic when it must be and sweet when you least expect it. It doesn’t make apologies to be honest nor to be merciful. It is an immense gesture of love, of faith, of hope, that pushes conscience to the most painful of self-consciences and the forever awkward self-censorship.

What we don’t dare to think that could happen, what happened to us and we could not speak because the trauma erases our memory, what happened to the most loved one and never came out of the secret, all of that is stirred when you read Vinka Jackson’s work. A book that is so dreadful that one might wish it was pure fiction. However, it is so well written, and perhaps that is the only reason why it can become thinkable and bearable: it’s of an indisputable literary quality. Maybe, one of the best books I have read in recent times in any language.  I concede to emotion -I must confess- a very important value in reading and also, to inner growth and the knowledge of truth. This book speaks about the complexity of truth, and its point of view is made of steel. With the eyes of the author one must look at the social and personal history, and question (a sect like the one in Pirque, in Chile) or the Internet exploitation of children.  

Where are the children right now? For too long we have known that the rape of girls and boys usually is not at hands of a stranger. Is the story of love made a dagger: the no-love, so dark; the horror that, sometimes, literature can transform in grace, enlightening our conscience. “Agua fresca en los espejos” will be read and reflected upon by word of mouth. It is a needed and urgent book, a model about forgiveness and guilt. It hurts that it is so necessary, but fortunately, it exists. To miss its reading, is a sin. LND


(*)
Chilean playwright, short story writer, novelist, and psychiatrist, Director of Literature-University Finis Terrae.

This is the English translation of an article written for one the most important newspapers in Santiago, Chile. The author of the article is recognized in South America as an important writer, critic, and playwright.

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The top photograph is of the cover of the book, and the bottom photograph is of Vinka Jackson that was taken in a photo-shoot for the woman's magazine called"Paula" (in Chile).

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PLEASURE AND BOOKS
The real story of Vinka Jackson

La Nación Newspaper, July 16, 2007

Artemio Echegoyen

Ten years ago, Andrea Maturana published “El daño” (“The Damage”), a novel inspired – in part by the story of her friend Vinka. “Agua fresca en los espejos” is the real story of Vinka Jackson (Santiago, 1968), told by herself: sexually abused when she was a child by her own father, she has lived a hard passage to become the woman she is today, capable of observing her past and to live her present. “I wish this wave of the horizon / as the only laurel for my crown”: this verse of Vicente Huidobro is invocated as a watchword against devastation and fear, against the dissolution of affection in perversion (in the most atrociously wrong, contradictory and violent fashion). This is an autobiographical story, touching, admirable. It is the chronic of a brutal incest, of no love and silence, and of the possibility of healing.
 

Vinka Jackson works as psychologist, lives in Atlanta (USA), is married and has a daughter. Information which is not trivial since it demonstrates how she has been able to overcome a traumatic and “invisible” past (with many costs), to grow in spite of it, and, in words of her friend Andrea, “to give herself by her own hands all of that was denied to her during childhood, learning now to give it to others she loves”. The book has a subtitle “Sexual Child Abuse and Resilience“. And like in the verse, there was a horizon: her friends, her nanny, her school, spaces of affection where Vinka learned to be by and for herself.

It moves you deeply and it exasperates you, the circumstance of this girl, six or seven years old, who lives in her own home like a fugitive, unable to feel safe or calm, constantly fearing the closeness of a father that batters her (with total incomprehension and cynicism) because she wets her bed, molest her under the shower, and, finally, rapes her. How could a rape be physically measured? Dreadful, this question illustrates the blindness or cowardness of a third character, the mother. The daughter will answer three decades later: “A third, mother, that is how much. And she adds to the physical metric, the temporal: “Thirty years, too. Almost my entire life”. That is the time –so they say- that a person who lived and extreme suffering takes in verbalizing the experience with serenity and meaning.
 

“I know that in the big scheme of human pains”, Vinka reflects, “my story is a micro-atom, the same as a privilege, and a luxury, in truth, all the opportunities of survival and of living with which I have counted”. Chances of death and resurrection - among other things - through the power of words.