Twelve years ago, I headed from Philly down to a motel on the outskirts of Atlantic City to conduct an interview for a Philadelphia Weekly cover story. This Philadelphia Weekly cover story.
Having previously announced she’d only tell her story for money–a request she did not make during a recent series of interviews for PW–Rivera now hopes her account will help those who may be making the kind of mistakes that nearly ended her life.
“My story could benefit a lot of girls, the ones that only see one side of prostitution,” she says. “They think they can run outside, make some money and then–boom–they’re on their way. They don’t think anything can go wrong. Well, guess what? Something can go wrong.”
Leaning forward to be heard over the music videos playing on the television, the petite 41-year-old says it all turned out better than could be expected.
Grabbing the remote, she lowers the decibels on P. Diddy.
“I still have problems with my hearing,” she apologizes. “Can’t even hear myself talk sometimes because of what he did with the screwdrivers. It’s just one of those things I still have with me. One of those things I’ll always have with me.”
Rivera looks out the door to her motel room just as an F-16 fighter jet from a nearby air station roars out to sea. As it trails off into the sky, she starts to talk about the night that changed her life.
The night a $20 hour of sex became four months of life-shattering hell.
The night she met Gary Heidnik.
It was a haunting story. But it was also an inspirational one as, staying in somewhat-touch over the years, Josefina’s told me she’s really gotten her life back together despite every imaginable obstacle on earth.