Yanina Calderone


Yanina Calderone was born in Guatemala City. Raised by her mother and two grandmothers, she moved to New York City at age 14 to live with her father. Yanina was raped at age 15 and became pregnant. She decided to keep her “little froggy,” the son that jumped in her stomach. Rather than let a violent act ruin her life, she decided to funnel all of her love toward her child.

“I let go all of the hurt that I have in me, and I decided to do something for others instead.”

I was a rebel. It started when I was 15 years old. My parents got divorced. I got mad at everybody. I wanted to take revenge, including on my parents. Instead of hurting them, I hurt myself. I learned that lesson now. It took me years. I did things I was not proud of.

I wanted to change because of my children. I had an abusive husband for seventeen years. Like other women, I thought that staying was the right thing to do because of the children, but one day I said, “I can make it.” That’s when I changed my life and started being positive. I said, “I can do it.”

I can talk about it now. For seventeen, I never told nobody that I was raped. I never told no one that I had a son from rape. The one I gave my love to, my oldest son. I dedicated myself to love him. I wasn’t going to give up on the little creature.

Forget about the past. We all make mistakes. Who am I to say what you’re going through? Who am I to say what you’re thinking? I did that before. I tried to hurt myself to hurt others. It didn’t work. I don’t regret what I have done in life because it allows me to help others. If I can stop you, I stop you. Just let go. The past is the past. Live in the future.

Yanina Calderone full podcast


Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever suffered something terrible? How did you direct your anger from that event? Was it constructive or destructive?
  • Have you ever done something that you’re not proud of? What have you learned in hindsight?
  • What are you most afraid of? How does that fear affect you?
  • Who has stuck with you through good times and bad times? Describe your relationship with that person. What characteristics of that relationship make it a good relationship?
  • What keeps you from letting go of hurt that you hold? What is the source of that hurt? How would you be different if that hurt didn’t have such a strong hold on you?

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