Roberta and her family were consumed by poverty. For Mexicans born into an indigenous tribe in Guerrero state, where Mixteco Bajo is the most widely spoken language and both Spanish and education are scarce, there are few options. Roberta, like many before and after her, pursued the “American Dream.” She said goodbye to family and life as she knew it and traveled to America; where instead of the the dream she found a living nightmare.
She was welcomed by her sister’s family only to be raped repeatedly by her sibling’s husband. Having had very little education, Roberta was unaware of the crime of rape or its implications. She did not understand what was happening to her body when she eventually became pregnant.
One day, during one of her regular 12-hour shifts at the tomato factory, Roberta felt sharp stomach pain. She went to the bathroom, hoping that the cramps would subside. When the pain finally ended she found a baby in the toilet. Roberta did not know what had happened to her body; and her lifeless baby was later found in a trashcan.
Unable to speak for herself in a language that the authorities would understand, Roberta was charged with murder in the country she had traveled to for refuge, and was sentenced to five years in prison. While in prison, Roberta taught herself to speak Spanish. Thanks to the Mexican Consulate in Washington D.C, the case reached Mil Mujeres; and after a seemingly impossible struggle, Roberta received her U-Visa, voiding her deportation and protecting her from her abuser.