sonia

sonia -5a

You are Sonia, a 14-year-old living in Germantown, MD. Your mother has been a single parent and sole financial support for you and your 3 younger brothers. You are responsible for your brothers’ after-school and weekend care while your mom works, which means you can’t hang out with your friends then. Also, you don’t have time or energy for your homework, which leaves you with poor grades and damaged self-esteem. Do you

fully attend school classes,                                              or        do you use that time to skip school and hang out with your friends at a nearby park?

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sonia -3a

The initiation requires you to have sex with 13 male gang members. You are so beaten up after this that you couldn’t go to school that next day. A youth counselor with Montgomery County finds you in a park and wants to take you to the hospital. You are so weak you cannot argue.

The hospital conducts a mental health evaluation and requests consent from your mother to admit you to an inpatient program. Do you

refuse to give out her info (because she is in the US illegally and this could impact her ability to stay in the US) and return to the gang,

or

do you allow her to be involved?

sonia -2b

Your mom is heartbroken, but says she can't give consent because she is worried about how your brothers would be affected if her involvement resulted in her being deported. You return to the gang. A gang member asks you to transport drugs for a deal. Do you

agree,                                                                                                                or   say no and risk being beat up, raped, and/or kicked out again?

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sonia -1b

You decline to carry the drugs, and are kicked out of the house. You find an empty house that's for sale and break a window to enter. The next day, a real estate agent is startled to find you, and when she threatens to call the cops, you get into an altercation. You are arrested and charged with trespassing and assault.

Because you are a minor, you are supposed to go to a juvenile institution, but there’s no room. You are sent to adult prison, with no schooling. To protect you from assault in the general population, you are sent to solitary confinement.

sonia -1a

You run the drugs and are caught. You are sentenced to 10 years in prison. Because you are a minor, you are supposed to go to a juvenile institution, but there’s no room. You are sent to adult prison, with no schooling. To protect you from assault in the general population, you are sent to solitary confinement.

sonia end

You have constant nightmares about being attacked and raped, sometimes just hearing a male voice makes you start shaking uncontrollably, and the way you cope with time in solitary confinement is to talk to yourself continuously. A mental health counselor diagnoses with PTSD and anxiety, but you can't go to group therapy or other activities for another 2 years because you are a juvenile in an adult prison. Your condition degrades with the isolation.