Sandy 'Pepa' Denton Keeps an Open Dialogue with Kids

08/29/2008 at 07:00 PM ET

In her new autobiography Let’s Talk About Pep, Sandy Denton — aka ‘Pepa’ from the ’80s rap group Salt-N-Pepa — opens up about a lifetime of enduring, and ultimately overcoming, abuse. Pepa says that she hopes that that cycle will end with her two children, both of whom witnessed her being verbally abused by her ex-husband Anthony ‘Treach’ Criss, from Naughty by Nature. "People forget that verbal abuse is equally unhealthy [as physical abuse]," she says, "My kids used to see me crying and depressed all the time, and that can affect kids as well." As a result Pepa’s daughter Egypt, turning 10 next week, has become understandably hypersensitive to her mom’s moods.

"Now, if I get a little down or sad and my daughter notices and asks whether I’m okay, I say, ‘Yes, I’m fine. Mommy’s just trying to figure something out.’ She doesn’t like it when I act antsy or confused, so I have to say to myself, ‘Okay, let me relax.’"

Pepa’s 18-year-old son Tyran is "a really decent guy," she says with pride. "I constantly talk to him about how to treat a woman…He tells me everything." Keeping that open line of communication with both kids remains a priority. A victim of sexual abuse as a child, Pepa says she suffered in silence because she wasn’t comfortable going to her parents with the truth. "I promised myself that if I ever had kids, I would be open with them," she says.

"Because of the molestation I experienced as a child, I feel nervous for [Egypt], so I make sure to ask her those questions…I always have to tell her that she has to tell me if anyone bothers her, and that I won’t be mad at her because I love her, because silence kills and people who abuse depend on their victim’s silence as a tool to continue to victimize others."

Egypt is Pepa’s daughter with Treach; Tyran is her son with a former boyfriend.

Source: Essence

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Chicki on

I know that as women we tend to think of protecting girls from sexual abuse as a number one priority – I understand that the root of this is a projection of our own experience – but we should also be equally mindful of protecting boys from being abused. I think the open line of communication she has with her son as he deals with his mom’s subjection to verbal abuse, is equally important, if not more so.

That said, I am happy to hear about Pepa and her children, as she (as well as her husband Treach)was a huge musical influence to me growing up!

HappilySingle29 on

I just recently left an emotionally abusive marriage. I, too, was afraid to go to my family with the truth. Everyone I have spoke to about my situation was telling me that eventually it would escalate into physical abuse (which was probably true because he would threaten to hit/slap me) and to leave him. He started isolating me from my family and told me that no one loved or cared about me more than him. I had no friends to turn to. He was very controlling and very disrespectful. Of course he wasn’t this way before we got married but changed drastically afterwards.

Thank God for my amazing family! I honestly don’t know where I would be without them.

Sarah on

This comment is not about Pepa’s method of raising her children, although it sounds as if she’s doing an excellent job. Instead, as a long time CBB reader, I’d like to comment on the new format of the site. Previously, you got a lot of information at once when you visited. I found this extremely useful, since I tend to click on the site several times a day – I always found something new to look at, even if the main stories hadn’t been updated. Now, all you see is the main story, and there’s no way to tell which stories are generating a lot of discussion and views.

This may be the wrong place to express this comment, but I would not be surprised if many readers feel the same way I do. The old format was busier, but much more appealing to repeat visitors.

Patterson on

Wow she looks amazing..congrats to her on getting through her struggles and raising kids at the same time.

BloggerT on

I agree Chicki. There is a site called that looks at abusive women in society. Female sex offenders, murder, torture, etc. We tend to forget to protect boys and we tend to forget to protect girls from other girls as well.

Sanja on

She’s talking against abuse and has a son named Tyran!? This just struck me as, well weird I guess. Another point in favor of their parents actually thinking about their kid’s names, imo.

Veroncia on

Sorry Sanja. But I don’t get where you are going when her son’t name and being absued?

melanie on

Good on her for talking to her kids and keeping that line of communication open. I teach 3rd grade and I have many involved parents who walk their kids to school and come in to say hi in the morning. However, I have also taught older grades and an interesting phenomenon is that by about 5th grade parental involvement drops way off. This is when kids need parents the most, so I say good for her for taking care of her babies even though they’re not really babies anymore.
BTW, I think Sanjat is thinking she named her son Tyrant. lol.

Stephany on

My dad was very emotionally (and physically) abusive to my mother and, in turn, to my brother and I. It was a bad situation and my mom finally got out of it because she didn’t want my brother and I believing that’s how a man should treat his wife. Consequently, she sacrificed a LOT in leaving my father. It might have been easier for her to stay but she wanted my brother and I growing up happy. My brother, who has been dating his girlfriend for 6 years, is the most gracious and respectful boyfriend to her – a complete difference from my dad!

So, good for Pepa! Keep up the dialogue and make sure they are happy, healthy, and secure in their life.

babyboopie on

I agree with what she says about being open with kids, as my boy and I are extremely open and it’s nice that he can tell me absolutely anything!

carie on

It’s great that she is speaking out against abuse. I will add that most male victims of abuse…are abused my other men, not women.

I think the commenter know it’s Tyran…she spelled it correctly. I think she’s just remarking on how close it is to the words tyranny, tyrant, etc.

i think on

sanja what is wrong with the name Tyran? It could have a special significance to her family.

Jay on

What does a name have to do with the abuse she endured? Strange
I applaud Pep for speaking about her experiences and it’s very important to have open communication with your kids.

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