A birds eye view of a bedroom. A figure sits on the bed, and another figure lays on the ground. Three shadowy figures stand outside of a window on the righthand side.

I.B. Ser Joven es un Pecado / To be Young is a Sin

I was born in El Salvador, the 3rd most dangerous country in the world. I love my country and I miss it, but I really can’t be there because my life would be in danger.  I had to come here because I could not survive in a place with so much evil where the young men are forced to be in gangs and the girls are forced to be the slaves of the gang members who can take whoever they want. It’s very sad that the corruption in El Salvador is so bad that the gangs have so much more power than the government.

For example, El Salvador has some very stupid laws. It is illegal to have a miscarriage because it is defined as an abortion in El Salvadorian law. Not only is a miscarriage illegal, but it is considered a very serious “crime” in El Salvador with a sentence of like 30 years in jail for something that is an accident. Imagine the pain of a mother who just lost her baby, through no fault of her own, who then is punished for her loss by being forced to go to jail for almost her whole life. It’s so frustrating that the real criminals walk free and continue to do evil things while the victims are thrown in jail. This is even more tragic because my country is so beautiful and is rich with natural resources and a beautiful culture. It has the best beaches, the best places to surf, delicious coffee, and delicious food, but only people who are rich can see this side of the country because the gangs control the rest.

When I was 11 years old, my mom came to the US. A few months after that, I lost my father. It was a terrible time, but I lived with my grandmother, a perfect woman. She took care of me, but I had to leave her to come here.  After my mom left and my father passed away, I was in a deep depression. When I was 12-13 years old, the members of MS13 started harassing me.  One of them really wanted to force me to stay with him and be his woman. I was so scared and I couldn’t go to church, school, or anywhere without my grandma to protect me.

I felt like my house was a prison, and I didn’t feel safe even answering the door. The gangs think of all the girls my age as their property and that they can do whatever they want with us. I feel enraged when I think of all the bad things that they do, to kill people just because they refuse to be slaves. I was in a very difficult situation and suffered through some very hard times, but my grandmother never left my side and always protected me. I am so thankful to God and to her for giving me the strength to keep going. It was a difficult time, and I really don’t like to talk about these things, but I make an exception because I want to you show how difficult was my life in my country and would be dangerous if I come back.

It hurts me so much to talk about this, but I am very grateful to God and my family for making me come to this country. I will honor the sacrifice my family made for me forever! Getting out of that world of Hell, evil, fear, despair made me value life so much. Now, I have so many more opportunities because of the sacrifices my family has made for me. God bless my family who do so much for me.

A birds eye view of a bedroom. A figure sits on the bed, and another figure lays on the ground. Three shadowy figures stand outside of a window on the righthand side.

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