Carlos Santana, the renowned musician, has bravely opened up about the sexual abuse he endured as a child, expressing his current perspective of forgiveness and compassion towards his abuser.
In an interview with People, Santana shared how his outlook on the traumatic events he experienced has evolved over time. Reflecting on conversations with his son, he emphasized the spiritual nature of acceptance and forgiveness.
“I learned to look at everyone who ever went out of their way to hurt me, demean me, or make me feel like less, like they’re five- or six-years-old, and I’m able to look at them with understanding and compassion.”
Carlos Santana’s Journey of Healing and Forgiveness
Elaborating further, he explained his unique approach to forgiveness, saying:
“For example, this person who abused me sexually, instead of sending him to hell forever, I visualized him like a child, and behind him, there was a lot of light. So I can send him to the light or send him to hell knowing that if I send him to hell, I’m going to go with him. But if I send him to the light, then I’m going to go with him also.”
Confronting Childhood Abuse and Finding Clarity
Santana publicly disclosed the abuse in 2000, revealing that he was taken across the Mexican border by an American man who manipulated him with gifts and subjected him to molestation. The abuse occurred between 1957 and 1959 when Santana was between 10 and 12 years old. Reflecting on the coercion he experienced, Santana shared his initial attraction to the gifts and the allure of being brought to America, which clouded his understanding of the abuser’s true intentions.
Embracing Forgiveness and Letting Go
The musician also discussed the emotional turmoil he endured, including self-blame.
“The mind has a very insidious way of making you feel guilty. You’re the guilty party, shame on you, you’re the one who brought this on yourself.” However, he found solace and healing through his career, channeling the energy from his past into productive and creative outlets.
Today, Santana is ready to extend forgiveness to his abuser, recognizing the cycle of hurt caused by those who have experienced pain themselves.
He shared the saying:
“Hurt people hurt people,” and acknowledged that while the abuse did happen to him, he can choose to let go of the pain. Santana stated, “If you open your hands, and you let it go, then you don’t feel that anymore.”