Hometown: North Philly, Pennsylvania
Rosa was born in the Dominican Republic, and when she was just five, she and her mother fled the country after learning that her father was murdered. They were afraid for their safety, but resiliently crossed the border and met relatives who lived in the United States. They now live on the outskirts of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Rosa still remembers her grandparents and misses them. They were very supportive and loved to spend time with her each day when she was in the Dominican. This is why she began feeling very close to a friend of an older relative who lived in their apartment building, and reminded Rosa of her grandpa. Rosa’s mother, needing to go to work at night cleaning office buildings, began leaving her with relatives and neighbors who lived in their complex. A man who looked like Rosa’s grandpa always volunteered to stay with Rosa. At age 6, she was sexually molested by this man.
Rosa never told anyone about these experiences. Her mother kept working two full time jobs and relying on relatives and friends to take care of Rosa until she was 11 years old, when Rosa and her mom finally moved to a nicer neighborhood.
After the move, Rosa began having nightmares. She’d wake up in sweat and did not want to sleep on her own. She also began having panic attacks and asking her mom not to leave her alone at night. Her mom did not understand what the problem was, especially because Rosa was becoming a teenager. But after speaking to a friend about this, it was recommended she take Rosa to see a therapist. It wasn’t until Rosa wet the bed on a few occasions, that her mom decided to take her to the local clinic to talk with a therapist: Dr. Gomez.
Soon, Rosa began improving and feeling much more confident and happy. She also started keeping a journal, after a suggestion by Dr. Gomez — whom she enjoys calling “Michael.” Now in high school, she begins meeting many new people and when she meets John, she instantly likes him. He is one of her closest friend’s brothers. When John finally asks her out, this is Rosa’s very first date.
John is kind, funny and talkative. And while his sexual advances on their date surprise Rosa, and she tries to stop him at first; she finally agrees and they have sex that night. She is very surprised that she lets herself go through with this, but feels that John is caring and genuine; and he is very sensitive with her.
At the beginning, Rosa loves John's company and she starts feeling even better about herself. Then, a few months later, John begins bringing drugs to the apartment, and asking Rosa to try different things. Rosa did not mind this at first, and the drugs helped her feel more at ease from those bad memories, and allowed her to have sex with John more easily. Part of their relationship included Rosa sexting pictures of herself to John.
As John becomes more demanding and controlling, Rosa starts to feel more uncomfortable and more isolated. She is only allowed to spend time with John, and no one else. She decides that she needs a break and asks John for some space in their relationship. Almost instantly, John begins sending nude pictures of Rosa to school classmates and spreads them on the internet.
Rosa begs John to stop but he refuses to listen. Just walking down the halls at school would freak her out, and she believes that classmates are looking at her naked body and judging her.
Since, students have posted the words “slut” “whore” “easy” “skank” etc. on Rosa’s Facebook page. She’s been having nightmares, and finds herself critically staring at herself in the mirror. Rosa is also cutting herself; something that makes the pain more bearable. Rosa keeps asking herself… “What is the point of living?”