Nicaragua passed legislation criminalizing all abortion, with no exception for the health of the woman.
Abortion has been illegal in Nicaragua for more than a century. But a clause in the penal code made it possible for a woman to obtain an abortion legally when three doctors certified that unless she did, her own life would be in danger. It was this provision that allowed Rosita to obtain a "therapeutic abortion."
At the time ROSITA was completed in 2005, pro-choice activists in Nicaragua were battling to keep a legal provision that had permitted lifesaving abortions since the late 1800s. In the run-up to a hotly contested presidential election in 2006, Sandinistas in the National Assembly helped overturn this provision. Nicaragua now has a law similar to Chile and El Salvador, with no exception for rape, incest or to save the life of the pregnant woman. In 2006, Nicaragua elected anti-choice Sandinista Daniel Ortega as president.
To learn more about abortion law today in Nicaragua, go to:
New York Times: "Nicaragua Eliminates Last Exception to Strict Anti-Abortion Law" (subscription required).
Abortion ban saga continues in Nicaragua (IPAS.ORG)
And Abortion ban killing women
News sources in Nicaragua reported that Rosita gave birth to a daughter in December 2005. Rosita's father (now identified in the press as a stepfather) Francisco Fletes, was arrested and charged with rape. The birth of this daughter came years after the pregnancy detailed in the documentary. www.nicatimes.net
Judicial proceedings against Fletes concluded with a guilty verdict. DNA tests on Rosita's baby confirmed that Fletes was the biological father. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. Although the proceedings were closed to the press, La Prensa reported that Rosita said that her abuser had always been her stepfather and apologized for accusing a Costa Rican man. Sources in Nicaragua close to Rosita feel that she may have been pressured into saying this.
In an effort to intimidate feminist activists, a non-governmental organization has filed charges against nine members of the Network of Women Against Violence claiming they helped cover up Rosita's rape by her stepfather. At present, the nine are still fighting these charges.
Rosa, now 14 years of age and the mother of a 2-year old, is in state custody with her child.
Message from the filmmakers
We grieve for these newly revealed tragedies in the life of this young girl. Sadly, the new information reinforces what is known about the devastating rates of abuse of girls by someone in their own home or by a relative. However, after much reflection, we do not find that the new facts diminish the importance of the film in revealing the unfairness of abortion politics as it plays out in the life of a gravely disenfranchised girl.
"The Other Rositas" is a La Prensa story about the problem of sexual
abuse of girls in Nicaragua.
Awards, Screenings and Press
International Women's Day
Law Students for Reproductive Rights
Chapters across US screen Rosita, March 2008
Behind the Screen Series
Human Rights Action Center, London, March 2008
Jersey (Channel Island) Amnesty International Human Rights Film Festival, September 2008
Attie & Goldwater Awards
2005: ROSITA producers/directors Attie and Goldwater are awarded the Pew Fellowship in the Arts in recognition of their collaborative filmmaking.
2008: Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowship in Media
2008: Pennsylvania Commission for Women's 2008 Women's History
CINE Golden Eagle
Human Rights Jury Award 2006, International Latino Film Festival–San Francisco Bay Area
Editing Award, United Nations Association Film Festival, Stanford University
2007 LASA Award of Merit in Film from the Latin American Studies Association
Hugo Award from Cinema/Chicago and the Chicago International Film Festival
"Award of Commendation" Society for Visual Anthropology/American Anthropological Association
HBO/Cinemax Latin America: ROSITA is broadcast throughout Central and South America during 2006
Télévision Suisse Romande, Switzerland (2006)
ABC AsiaPacific (2006)
Korean Broadcasting System, South Korea (2008)
Link TV/U.S. (ongoing)
ROSITA premiered at SILVERDOCS, the American Film Institute/Discovery Channel documentary festival, on
June 14 2005.
Hot Springs Documentary Festival Hot Springs, Arkansas October 21-30, 2005
Cinefestival en San Antonio Texas, November 13, 2005
Latin American Film Festival London, UK, November 15, 2005
San Diego Latino Film Festival March 2006
Women's Film Festival Brattleboro, Vermont, March 2006
Spaghetti Junction Urban Film Festival Atlanta, April 19, 2006
Chicago Latino Film Festival April 25 and 26, 2006
Human Rights Watch International Film Festival presented at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's Walter Reade Theater, New York, June 16-22, 2006
Cine Las Americas Film Festival Austin, Texas, April 2006
The Female Eye Film Festival (with the National Film Board of Canada) Toronto, June 2006
Her Voice, Her View Film Festival New York, July 2006
Vistas Film Festival Dallas, Texas, September 2006
Oslo Films from the South Festival Norway, October 2006
United Nations Association Film Festival Stanford University, October 2006
Int'l Latino Film Festival San Francisco Bay Area, November 2006
2006 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival Buenos Aires Showcase, November
WATCH DOCS Human Rights in Film IFF, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw, Poland, December 2006
2007 Human Rights Watch International Film Festival — London, March 2007
CineMujer Film Festival, San Antonio, Texas, March 2007
New Zealand Human Rights Film Festival, May 2007
"… a frightening glimpse into life without Roe v. Wade." -Time Out New York, June 8, 2006
Fighting for a life - her own young life -The Philadelphia Inquirer, October 4, 2005
The Washington Post declared it one of the "sure bets" in the SILVERDOCS festival:
"... a heartbreaking true story about a 9-year-old Nicaraguan girl who
was raped and impregnated but whose unwanted pregnancy . . . became a political football between abortion rights advocates and antiabortion forces in Costa Rica and Nicaragua."
-Washington Post, June 10, 2005
Listen to an interview on "Rosita: Debate about Abortion" on Wisconsin Public Radio's
"Here on Earth with Jean Feraca"
"... a gripping individual story that touches on an important human right – the power of women to control their own reproductive health."
-The New Zealand Herald, May 4, 2007
"Attie and Goldwater's doc is a well structured and emotionally charged account of one family's plight against the bureaucracy of discretionless laws and religious rules perpetrated by men with absolutely no concept of female needs. Recommended viewing."
-Time Out London, March 28-April 3, 2007
"Horrific and heartbreaking, a must see piece of film making."
-Eye For Film