It was a long journey, but today Rosa lives with her parents again, together with her daughter Mariana*. ‘I was fourteen and lived at home. The situation was far from ideal. My dad was often drunk and beat me up. I had a very difficult childhood with episodes that I prefer not to talk about out of shame. When an older guy, I met on Facebook, invited me to come live with him, it seemed like a way out. I didn’t want to have sex, but I didn’t have the courage to refuse. To insist on using a condom was something I didn’t dare to talk about. After a couple of months, I realized I was pregnant. He wanted me to have an abortion, which is illegal in Peru, but of course there are secret ways in which criminal organisations can help you. I knew that a lot of accidents happened during this procedure, so I refused because I was petrified. Actually, I also wanted to keep the baby. When my boyfriend heard this, he locked me out end left me on the street. I slept on the street. I can’t forget the memory of that night, I felt so alone and helpless. The next day, I snuck in, took ten Soles (Peruvian currency) off the table and jumped on a bus to Ayacucho. I didn’t know where I was going.
Eventually, I was admitted in CAR, the Solid shelter where they take in girls, victims of abuse. Initially, I felt at home and understood there, but after a while it became more difficult. I got into a fight with the other girls and escaped. I went back home, which was the only option, from my point of view. My parents dragged me back to the shelter three times, but after the fourth time escaping, they decided that I could stay at home. Luckily, my father had changed. He had become a better person after the psychologists of CAR had worked with him. Because that is their ultimate goal; making sure that you can eventually return home (if the situation at home is safe). Lina, a social worker of Solid, visited me every week and thought me how beautiful a pregnancy can be and how I could be an affectionate mom for my baby, something that I had never experienced at home. In the meantime, Mariana is born, and she is the star of the family. Lina is my confidante; she helps me to talk about my trauma’s, to process my emotions, to take care of my baby and she also encourages me to resume my studies. During the week, I go to work, carrying Mariana in a sling on my back. During the weekends, I go to school. This way I can take care of my baby, but I can also build a better future for myself.’
* The names and identifying details in this testimony have been changed to protect the privacy of the individuals.
Written by Marie Monsieur
Translated by Cato Franqui, volunteer of SolidPictures by Marie Monsieur - for LN Knits