I was born and raised in a wealthy Brazilian/American family in São Paulo, Brazil and had lived a very privileged life there for the first 27 years of my life. But a few months after our marriage, my husband and I were pulled from our beds, imprisoned, raped and tortured for 45 days by the corrupt government under the premise of drug trafficking, released only when my family paid a $ 400,000 bribe. Not long after this traumatic experience, Brazil passed a law in 1979 that gave carte blanche indemnity from prosecution to any government officer who tortured. This new law was anathema to me. I had an infant son and my fledgling marriage had fallen apart.
Told through my sworn deposition to the Brazilian National Truth Commission in 2013, my memoir The Parrot’s Perch recounts our kidnapping, as well as the aftermath, and my eventual road to recovery. The excerpt below explores the pivotal moment I realized that in order to survive and continue living, I had to flee to the United States as I no longer had the support of my family, my marriage, or my country.
The time had come to ask my parents for help. I was 26 years old. I needed love and happiness in my life. I couldn’t live like this. I’d given my marriage my best shot, but felt I had to leave Brazil if I was ever going to be truly happy again.
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