TUCSON, Ariz. — Domestic Violence Awareness month was launched in October of 1987 to connect survivors and families with organizations raising awareness on the issue. It comes as the nation has been gripped by the story of Gabby Petito's disappearance, death, and the search for her boyfriend.
KGUN 9 reporter Taja Davis spoke with a local family whose world was shattered by domestic violence, and how they're using their grief to help other families.
May 2018 on South Craycroft Road, Rosaura Barbosa lost her life to domestic violence. Her live-in boyfriend killed her after she broke up with him. Rosaura’s family discovered her body hours later.
“You know, going in there, I saw her from the window when I was climbing in and I saw her laying there, my first thought was oh she’s been asleep this whole time. It didn’t register to me what I had seen until I got closer and I seen her injuries and the blood all over the place. And my first instinct was to cuddle my daughter. I put my face against her face and I said, ‘Mommy’s here, Mommy’s here. It’s ok, Mommy’s here.’ You know, I was in shock, I couldn’t register what I was seeing. And I knew she was gone by the way she felt,” said April Barbosa, Rosaura’s mother.
Since then, Rosaura’s family started ‘Justice for Rosaura,’ a local nonprofit that helps raise money and awareness of domestic violence.
“I stayed in bed for months after everything happened. I had given up completely. And then I got on social media, and there were hundreds of messages from strangers,” said Barbosa.
Barbosa had messages from domestic violence survivors, victims who were inspired by Rosaura’s story to get out of their situations, and victims who needed help.
“And I’m still learning as I go. And that’s how it started. I wanted to help these women and men get out of their situations and do better for themselves, because my daughter’s legacy is helping people. She always wanted to help people,” said Barbosa.
In the midst of their nonprofit work, Barbosa and her family are still grieving the loss of Rosaura, but they are also dealing with the confusion and anger toward her boyfriend who was very close with the family. In 2020, he was sentenced to 20 years.
“He helped her go into the next realm when it wasn’t her time. I don’t like to say he took her life, because then that means he owns it and he doesn’t, he does not. He murdered her and it's not fair and 20 years is not even close to enough,” said Barbosa.
‘Justice for Rosaura’ is in the works of securing agency partnerships within the community to widen its scope and help even more people. Click here to donate.
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