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Carlos Santana reveals how he learned to forgive his abuser

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Carlos Santana revealed back in 2000 that he had been sexually abused as a young child, and in a new interview with People he describes how he learned to forgive his abuser. 


Sharing that “acceptance and forgiveness are really spiritual,” he says, “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 5 or 6 years old, and I’m able to look at them with understanding and compassion.”

The Rock & Roll Hall of Famer first opened up about his abuse in a 2000 interview with Rolling Stone, saying it happened “almost every day” between the ages of 10 and 12. 

The guitar great says of the man who abused him, “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.”

He adds, “There’s this saying, ‘Hurt people hurt people.’ It’s my pain. It did happen to me. But if you open your hands, and you let it go, then you don’t feel that anymore.”

Santana’s life is the subject of a new documentary, Carlos, which is premiering at the Tribeca Festival on Saturday, June 17.

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