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How to Stop the Revolving Door of Abuse

Rosie never worked through her pain stemming from childhood sexual abuse. Instead, she numbed her early adult years with alcohol and continued being victimized in her marriage. Read Transcript


My father told me I was intelligent and strong,

and a princess that could conquer the world.

I was not a princess, because princesses are not hurt.

NARRATOR: Rosie Rivera Flores was the youngest child born

into the musical Rivera family.

Her brothers were musicians, and her sister, Jenny,

rose to fame as an international singing star.

But there was hidden heartbreak in this close-knit family.

Rosa was only eight when Jenny's husband, Trino, started

abusing her.

He told me that we were going to play a love game.

And I trusted him for being my sister's husband.

But then I knew something was wrong.

I just couldn't explain it.

And I couldn't ask anyone, because it was very scary

and I felt very dirty.

It was a very confusing, scary game for me.

NARRATOR: Trino threatened to kill Jenny

if Rosie ever told anyone.

And the abuse continued for three years.

But once a teenager, Rosie discovered

she wasn't Trino's T only victim.

And she told her sister the truth about her husband.

She let out the world's biggest scream.

And I was with her on her knees, crying, and just telling her

I'm so sorry.

She then asked me, anything else that I needed to know,

that she needed to know.

And I just asked her, where is Chiquis?

Where is your daughter?

And again, she immediately knew.

And she said, her too?

And I just nodded yes.

And she lost it again.

NARRATOR: The family called the police,

and Trino went on the run.

Rosie thought revealing her secret

would make the pain go away.

I thought I would just automatically be better.

Just if I just spoke up, I'd be free and I'd be healthy.

But I wasn't.

I was looking for love and peace.

And everything in the world offered me on a silver platter

couldn't offer me love or peace.

NARRATOR: Rosie began leading a double life.

To her family, she was a dedicated straight-A student.

But on the weekends, I was a total mess.

If no one was watching, I was doing drugs, alcohol.

Very promiscuous.

I was still confused about the love game.

If you give love, then that means you give your body.

NARRATOR: Rosie got pregnant at 21,

but the father abandoned her.

When another man began to show Rosie attention,

she married him.

NARRATOR: And he promised to make me a queen.

And I thought I'm a queen now.

I'm finally someone worthy of someone's love.

But my kingdom lasted three days.

NARRATOR: Rosie's husband isolated her

from friends and family, and physically and sexually

abused her.

The only way that I could escape was killing myself.

I just-- I didn't want to be raped one more time in my life.

I couldn't.

And I thought, if I just die, everyone will be better.

My two-year-old daughter will have my mother.

And she will not have a mess as a mother.

And I will be free.

NARRATOR: One night, Rosie left a party at her brother's house

and ran out into the streets of one of LA's most

dangerous neighborhoods.

ROSIE RIVERA FLORES: And I started

to walk down the streets drunk, trying to make it

to South Central, knowing that I was going to find someone

either to rape me and kill me, or I

was going to make that upset and provoke them to anger

to beat me and kill me.

One of the two was going to happen that night.

So I started to take off my clothes, my cell, my shoes,

my top flew here and there.

NARRATOR: Rosie screamed at passerbys.

But when no one stopped, she lifted her cries to heaven.

I beg you to take me out of my misery.

I cannot handle it anymore.

Please, if you have mercy the way my mom says, kill me.

There was just silence.

NARRATOR: Exhausted, Rosie decided to sleep on the curb,

hoping someone would run over her.

But a few hours later, she was awakened by a voice that she

knew was God's.

And his voice said, that's enough.

Go home.

And I sit up immediately, because I knew it was real.

I'll go home.

But I don't know where my home is.

Where does a woman like me fit?

Where does a woman like me have a home?

NARRATOR: Rosie couldn't return to her husband,

but remembered her mother had always

said an open church is home.

She found a ride back to her brother's house

and called her mother, asking to go to church with her

the next morning.

Rosie walked into the church in the same torn, dirty clothes

she had worn the night before.

By the time the altar call comes,

I literally run to the front, just thinking,

there is something there.

I know there's nothing there that is going to help me.

And when I finally surrendered to him, he set me free.

So I just started speaking to him in between sobs,

just saying, this is me.

Do you think you can love me just as I am, just this mess?

I need you to love it.

And it felt wonderful for him to say I do.

NARRATOR: Rosie gave her life to Christ,

and began a process of healing.

She's forgiven Trino, who was finally apprehended

and sentenced to prison.

And she's written a book about her journey,

"My Broken Pieces."

Jenny encouraged her to write the book

before her tragic death in a plane crash in 2012.

ROSIE RIVERA FLORES: What would I tell

people, and who would care?

You're the famous one.

Who cares about Rosie's life?

And she said, this is so many young ladies' life.

This is not your story.

This is everybody's story.

NARRATOR: Today, Rosie is happily married

and has two children.

She has a ministry to women who are

the victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Most of all, she has everything she always wanted

because of Jesus .

He's just everything to me.

And the world literally put everything on a silver platter

for this little girl.

And none of it, not one thing, not love, fame, power, nothing

the world's going to offer is what Jesus is to me.

He is my friend, my Savior, my beloved, my husband,

my partner, everything.

He is everything that I've needed.

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