Living a life with purpose with Silvia Contrafatto
Hello, my name is Silvia Contrafatto, from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I am a lawyer and specialize in human rights. It is the last thing I did, human rights but my transition as a lawyer has been going through different steps. One one being a bank lawyer, after that I went through a crazy IT phase. Especially the discussion about freedom of data e.t.c… And I would say that for about 15 years the leitmotif of my life has been human rights.
To see how the human right is executed, home can make them ours. They are within say:law, but the important thing is how we can be empowered through human right and how we can demand them.
Tell us about a difficult time, and you got over it
If I had to define a difficult moment, it would have to be when I had the great opportunity to get to know the so called „Mutilated from Sierra Leone.“
As we all know there was a very strong armed conflict in Sierra Leone and I had heard a lot about other regions, that there had been massacres with unfathomable stories. But this had a strong impact on me because there were about 100 people and with the medical task force I was introduced to them and in that moment I though about greeting them with my hand…and they all moved, but none of them had a hand.
And that’s when I said to myself:
„ What is a human being capable of doing to another…“
It was a very impactful experience. But that was also what gave me confidence in knowing that I was going the right path. I have to keep walking this path, so these things don’t repeat themselves, so they can’t happen again.
In the end, my message, really is that through guns or violence there is nothing one can achieve.
That all change can be done day by day, even the big changes can be done through a peacefull dialogue, controversial of course, full of passion and full of strength. But the big changes are possible without the necessity of big massacres.
On being a woman
Taking a step back from conflicts and diving into the theme of human rights, which is what questions about gender are all about.
I remember the first time I went to the United Nations, to the convention of the woman… I said: „What are we going to do here, we are all women, why not men ?“
The answer I got was, „…because the man doesn’t understand…“ And that is something I don’t agree with the feminist. Because to me being a woman doesn’t mean to put oneself n a position of being the enemy or in opposition to the man.
I think being a woman, first of all we are human beings, and as such we have to stick together. And a way for the man to understand our being, of our essence is to make him a participant and not to exclude him.
All this professional activity also was developed in parallel with my function as a woman and in my case, which doesn’t have to be the pattern of all, I really loved being a mother. And I really liked a lot, something I have to confess, because I won’t have any more children… But I really liked that all my children are women. I had a lot of fun with them, honestly. And I was able to compartmentalize, even though it certainly wasn’t easy to raise four daughters and trying to keep studying and growing professionally
What would you tell your fourteen-year-old self
If I were to look back, into my adolescence to the „ Silvita“ of fourteen years, maybe what I would tell her is that she shouldn’t be that serious. Because I was very serious at fourteen years old. I was living in a library ( smiles).
And I would tell her today:
„Why don’t you go and have a little bit more fun!“ ( laughs)
On why self-love is important
To love oneself means to accept one self. To accept oneself including everything. The good sides and the dark sides. I always remember a quote from, I think it is Galliano, who talks about the village of Neguay, and explains that we human beings are a world of fire. Every single on of us is a fire. Bigger flame, smaller flame but flame none the less. And this diversity of flames is what makes us unique. In discovering that we are unique, it means that we are accepting ourself and it means that we have looked inside ourselves, to get to know us, to be truthful to ourselves, because we can deceive others but never ourselves. So to work on that, from a place where everybody thinks they can. Some may think it is through art or meditation, yoga or psychology, whatever it is.
But to work on it and to believe in oneself means to respect oneself and be able to love and respect others.
It’s like when somebody takes a flight, flies in an airplane, I always pay attention to when they say : place the mask of oxygen on you first, before helping others.
First, we have to love and respect ourselves we can’t demand to be respected and loved.
It sounds pedantic, but I like everything about myself. I like everything I have done, everything I do and what I have planned to keep on doing.
Essentially, analyzing it, I like the inquisitive spirit I have. I like to see and go to different places, I like to get to know different people, see different reactions. To interact . I am the kind of person that could not live alone. I love to interact with the other and get to know and learn that curious spirit, maintaining it. Which I harness by keeping on studying and being part of a research group that I am and being part of the GNO. But I think the essence is to keep the curiosity alive, what I like about myself. This curiosity gets me to discover new things and new reasons to live.