I’m 25 years old. I’m finishing high school because I want to get a college degree. I want to be a professional. I’m also studying hotel cooking at the Politecnica Internacional trade school thanks to the Empleate program. It’s my passion.
I feel strong, empowered, and I repeat to myself that women can do anything we set our minds to. I’m ready to fall in love with myself again.
But things haven’t always been that way. When I was 14 years old, I met a boy. I loved him and I was with him for three years. But we reached a point where he would hit me out of nowhere, he would show up at my high school to talk me. He controlled me.
Guanacaste prepares, little by little, for a future without gender violence. It’s not easy, but its crusaders are not giving up.
I always knew that this wasn’t right, but he would tell me he did it to take care of me. It made me feel like I was the guilty one.
I got pregnant with my first child by him, but then I found out that he was married and it all ended.
Then I met Bryan. I was fourth months pregnant and I felt alone. Some people told me that I was worthless. I was desperate. Today I can say that I used him.
At the beginning he gave me lots of gifts and he would give me things for my brothers (I have three, but they are younger than me and I couldn’t count on them). I got together with him and we lived in my mom’s house until the baby was born. He gave the child his surnames, but without my consent. He even gave the baby a first name without asking me.
As time passed everything got complicated. He told me that he sold products, which turned out to be drugs. I let it be because I needed food. I remember one day going to the convenience store and I stayed there talking to a friend for half-an-hour. When I got back, he was there and, well, he didn’t give me bruises on my face or anywhere visible, just on parts that people couldn’t see.
The trigger was a day in August when my mom asked me to come and help her in Nicoya at a restaurant and bar that she owned. I told him, but he didn’t let me go. He pulled out a knife and was about to stab me in the stomach while I had the child in my arms. I don’t know how, but my mom showed up just in time and got my child and me out of there. She saved my life.
After that I said to myself, ‘I’m not going to let anyone hit me.’ I was alone for a year, but then I met someone else and the aggressions were verbal. I had my second child with him.
He didn’t want to recognize her as his, but finally did so because I kept insisting. But he told me, “Who knows who knocked you up.”
He was always going out with women and said he was going to change. He would bring money, he would change for one or two weeks, we would go out together and then everything would go back to the way it was.
When I went back to high school, things got worse. The control was too much. Without thinking much about it, I went to IMAS and the office on womens’ matters. They referred me to Inamu. They told me about my rights, that, as a woman, I am worthy and that I wasn’t seeking out problems, that it’s my body and no one should say anything to me about it. I said to myself, ‘everything that they are telling me is true.’
My partner, of course, would tell me that everything they were telling me was to turn me against him, but then I started to wake up. I started to work and make my own money, and even save some. A year ago, I left him for good and I feel great about everything that’s coming.