Meet Tania Delgado. She was beaten up by her boyfriend. Her self-confidence crushed and she was left to fend for herself. Not without enough curse from the man she supposedly loved, who said, 'no one will ever love you'. He used to say 'everyone in town knew my vagina'. When Tania finally ran for her life, she says she had low self-esteem and physical injury. She put her mind and her bones together and after months of recovery resorted to her art, her graphics - something she was trained in - to revive her soul.
1. Your inspiration for art was horrific but your works are powerful and share a story. Do take us through what happened.
Back in 2015, I used to date this guy who was very outgoing and charming in a very unusual way. He was all over the place, and we ran into a relationship right away, we never took a chance to meet each other properly. At the time I was 22, and had broken up with my ex-boyfriend which made me stand in a very vulnerable position. It seemed as if all the strings were attached: I had very low self-esteem, he was a sociopath and I never heard anything bad about him. We moved in two or three months after we started our relationship, but during this time, jealousy was one constant behaviour of him. After some time he manipulated me and called me a whore, a slut; he used to say everyone in town knew my vagina and how a shame it was to be with me but he was doing me a favour... he could replace me in no time.
After some time he manipulated me and called me a whore, a slut; he used to say everyone in town knew my vagina
I became so self-aware of this, that it was my mantra: "I am no one. No one will love me other than Daniel". I found out he used to cheat on me, and when I did (because I was sneaking into his computer) he beat the hell out of me, leaving marks and very much physical and mental pain.
Then he would apologize, and cry, and tell me he would never do it again and how much he wanted to take his life.
When I finally decided to leave him, my dad and a couple of friends went to pick me and my things up and then they drove me to my mother's house where I moved back again. By the time, my 5'9 self, was only 110 pounds because of the starvation I indulged myself in order to remain "beautiful, so he would not cheat on me again"... See?, how mentally sick I was? How can you not notice? Is it that I was screaming for it? NO! I was much younger than him, I was carrying my own problems and he just appeared at a wrong time. It was bad timing, I am a smart person but I was not mature enough.
One day, I went in without his permission to take my things out, and it was a big surprise when he came out naked, and drunk from having sex with a girl (who stayed at the house during the abuse) - Tania Delgado
He would not give me back some stuff I had at the house we used to share, where I had been living for the past 10 months, I just needed to take everything out of there. One day, I went in without his permission to take my things out, and it was a big surprise when he came out naked, and drunk from having sex with a girl (who stayed at the house during the abuse). He was too nervous to even speak properly, he was mad at me, furious and knocked me down to the floor, took me from my wrists and started yelling at me and pushing me towards the floor. When I tried to get up, he punched me in the face. A whole fist sneaking in between my eyes. I had my nose broken. My reaction to this was screaming out loud, I couldn't even cry, the pain was too intense and I was in shock. Then he ran to the bedroom, gave the girl his car keys and told her to leave and that they would meet the day after.
When I tried to get up, he punched me in the face. A whole fist sneaking in between my eyes. I had my nose broken.
She passed by the living room where I was laying on the floor with a face full of blood and almost fainted: she did nothing. She left, and left me there with no help, right next to this abusive person.
He grabbed me by the hair and took me to the kitchen while yelling: "Wash your fucking face, you look disgusting with all that blood. No one is gonna help you, no one loves you. Your mother loves you because she has no choice." I was shaking and begging him very quietly if he could please let me go.
My 5'9 self, was only 110 pounds because of the starvation I indulged myself in order to remain "beautiful, so he would not cheat on me again" - Tania Delgado
He never ceased. In fact, he took me to the living room, knocked me down again and if I tried to move, he would hit my head on the floor.
After too much talking he was finally cooling down, after 5 hours, I managed to stand up while he was looking somewhere else, and I ran as fast as I could, and a guy who was driving by helped me escape.
2. Beating women in relationships has become rampant, and needs urgent attention around the world but it takes a lot to stand up and call it out? How did you do it?
It's pretty relative. I was in a very vulnerable position at that moment, perhaps if I were not in that mood, I would have noticed all this at a first glimpse and not when this all happened. So, yes, it personally took me A LOT to stand up and to learn so I could spot this abuse and codependence in my life.
What does not take a lot is to keep with the fight once you have decided to stand up for it.
3. When you exited the relationship, how did you deal with the trauma?
I went through very sharp phases of my healing process. From denial to deep depression and a strong resilience as a very positive outcome of the situation. It happened that when I recovered physically (after 1 and a half months to recover from the vertigo and broken nose. I still have sequels) I decided to step out and start working. Even before I could even go upstairs in the house. My mom took my painting supplies to the dining room so I did not have to walk upstairs. It was very moving for me to start painting. Right after it happened the first urge I felt was to paint and to speak about it, so it was very healing and beautiful. And of course, I went to therapy sessions and recovered from the severe anorexia caused by depression I had.
4. Why did you make art your outcome?
I am a graphic designer and have been always driven by creative manifestations since I was a kid. At a very early stage, I started drawing and painting on my own and that has always been my favourite language which I try to feed constantly. This was not by choice, but a very instinctive way to do so.
I am self-taught, therefore, what I do is not even close to being perfect or brilliant, it is the way I like to heal and communicate.
5. You have said 'when no one supported me, I hugged myself' - please do share what was that phase.
You never think about the lack of comprehension of the public or even people close to you. MANY people blamed me, I even heard this guy told everyone I was trying to kill him with a knife. It is absolutely crazy to think about this! I took it very personally when it all started but as time passed by, I realized: "Well, there are different points of view and only I know what happened, I got to stop stressing out". And that's about it. I literally started to ignore all this, and started to care more about myself and not what other people thought and their own vision of things. At the end of the day, this is all out of my control, I can only manage to stay as healthy as possible and as active as I like to be. Self esteem is something I am learning to enjoy, and I am proud to say it.
6. How did the authorities react to your complaints?
It was such a shame how they reacted. They did nothing, they did not even say, "We're gonna help you". Instead, I got this joke as an answer: "We feel very sorry to hear all this, but we are proud of you." Haha! Well, I literally laughed.