Humans of Amsterdam

I was only seven when my mother offered me out to elderly men as a prostitute. My entire childhood my mother earned money off of me. she abused me both mentally and physically. She was an alcoholic and all the money I would make she would spend on alcohol. When I got my period I became no longer interesting for pedophiles and she made me work other jobs. Whenever I refer to her, I rather not call her my mother but just the one who brought me into this world. At the age of sixteen I met a man and we got into a serious relationship. In a way he was my ticket out. Two years later I got pregnant and we had a baby girl. After a few years I found out that he would sexually abuse our daughter. It broke my heart. we divorced and he got arrested. After that I tried to make life better but my childhood trauma kept following me around. I got into a spiral of abusive relationships and drug abuse, I also had my second daughter. I never trusted anyone until I met an old family friend. He seemed to be very understanding of my situation and for the first time I felt that I could be vulnerable in front of another human being. He gained my trust and I was able to share the horrible things I went through as a child. I was happy I had found someone I could talk to but then one day my daughter came up to me and told me that she had been raped by this man.”
When I found out my daughter had been raped by him something inside of me snapped. I went up to him and I asked: ”Did you rape my daughter?” He answered: ”Yes, I did.” It is hard to describe how I felt but everything around me became blurry. I lived in a rust. I could no longer feel anything and the only thing I could think of was: ”He is going to die.” With the help of a friend, I drugged and I killed him.
When you kill in the name of your country it is justified. When you kill out of revenge you go to prison. I never tried to get away with what I did. I didn’t want to get away with what I did. On the contrary, I waited three weeks for my arrest. I knew what I had done was wrong and that I would get arrested for it. I have been punished for what I have done. I was sentenced to prison for 12 years. I hurt myself, I hurt my daughters and I killed a man. What I did, I regret but at the time I was so desperate and I felt no other option. When I got out of prison I started to write down my story as a way of coping with everything I had been through. At some point I would only write at night so no one would see me cry. In my life I experienced physical pain but that is nothing compared the mental pain I have experienced. There is no doctor, no medication or other remedy that can take that pain out of your soul. Still I refuse to see myself as a victim and I take full responsibility for what I did. I’m a grandmother now and I take good care of my grandchildren. I found a wonderful husband and somehow I made it through these 52 years of my life. I became an artist and I wrote a book, I paint and I write poetry. My artist name is LaReina which means the Queen in Spanish. It is a name the South American women in prison gave me. They gave me that name because they saw me as a strong mother, a Matriarch, a Queen who survived in a kingdom of misery. Ever since I came out of prison I have been carrying that name with pride.”

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