NEW YORK—Natasha Estevez has a wide smile and her voice exudes a contagious assuredness. It comes across when the 18-year-old girl from Harlem performs her poems.
Since writing her first poem in fourth grade, her passion for the art has grown. She said poetry has helped her overcome her parents’ divorce and the emotional turmoil that came before it; she feels other young people can relate to her story.
“I see women who are in unhealthy relationships, that’s something I grew up around and something I want to change,” Estevez said. “That’s something I write a lot about, the violence that goes on—us children—what we see, and how the cycle continues. We grow up and we go through it.”
Studies have shown that young people exposed to domestic violence are more likely to become victims or abusers.
She recently performed her poem “My Safe Space” that won second place in the spoken word category at a writing contest in Tribeca.
She joined other victims of abuse in the contest, which was hosted by Day One, an organization that works to prevent teen dating violence.
“I’m writing about everything that’s happening to me,” Estevez said. “I’m going through it and I’m finding ways to deal with it.”