These are the diverse stories of brave women who left home and came to the United States simply to survive. Today, some are living safely in the United States, free from abuse. Many are still seeking asylum in the United States, with the Trump Administration determined to send them back to their home countries and into harm’s way. If you would like to share your story on this page, get in touch here.
When I see it on the news, people saying domestic violence isn’t a reason to protect us here [in the U.S.], it’s difficult to hear. Because for me to go back, I don’t even want to think about it.read her story
In El Salvador, violence of all kind is normalized, people grow up in that environment and think it’s acceptable. The police don’t do anything if you tell them that you’re being abused — especially if you’re a young woman. We’re blamed instead of believed.
Being granted asylum has changed my life and outlook on life. I’ve always wanted a brighter future and a chance to focus on my education, and now I have that opportunity. In the U.S., I feel calm and happy, and I’m no longer afraid of what will happen when I leave my house. I no longer ask myself, “Will today be my last day?”
It’s wrong that other women in situations similar to mine will no longer be able to seek asylum in the U.S. on the grounds of domestic violence. If someone wants to start anew and escape violence, they should be given that chance.read more at TIME
For those of us who have no choice but to flee our home countries, asylum can mean the difference between life and death. For all of us who are lucky enough to live in safety, we must continue to fight for all women who still yearn to be free.read her story
“Sometimes kids say, “I want to be able to leave home, do what I want.” But imagine, to reach an extreme where you can’t imagine a better place to be than with your parents. I want to feel safe. My father never laid a hand on me. He never hit me. For me to get to a point where I was getting punched and kicked, by someone who supposedly loved me, someone whom I have a child with—this someone who was supposed to be protecting me was trying to kill me.”read more from Solito, Solita : Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America
I sought asylum in this country so that I could have a better quality of life … I think that if I had returned to my country, I would probably be dead by now.read her story
“Right around the time that we got married and Diana was born, scary things started happening in the village. We heard that when people went to the woods to get firewood, they saw strangers. Then, more and more, we’d hear that people saw unknown people around, though nothing serious had happened. We thought they were thieves. They’d go into the stores at night to steal, and once they left the owner of the store tied up, but that was it. Once the gangs dominated in the city, they started coming to the finca as well… Before, a village like ours was so beautiful, and suddenly things were ruined.””read more from Solito, Solita : Crossing Borders with Youth Refugees from Central America
Now that I have been granted asylum, I feel like a door has opened for me. I have many plans. I have a future, and I have so many goals.read her story
What do you do when you fear for your life and the state won’t protect you? Or if the state might make your already tenuous situation worse? The fraught calculations that face Sofia and her mom are endemic across Honduras, a country that remains in the grip of a rash of violence against women and girls. For some, the answer is simple and disruptive: They have to leave. When exhausted families, mothers toting babies and young women traveling alone arrive at the southern border of the United States, it’s not just gang violence or criminality in general that they’re fleeing. It’s also what Sofia whispers about to her bunny: men who beat, assault, rape and sometimes kill women and girls; law enforcement that does little to curtail them; and laws that deny many women who do survive the chance to retake control and steer their own lives.read more at Politico Magazine
Xiomara was terrified. Even if she left her family and her hometown, she knew the gang would be able to track her down. There was nowhere she could hide.read her story
“Hitting a woman for a man is as normal as eating a tortilla from a food stand on the way to work … I couldn’t stay there anymore; the next time he was going to kill me.”read more at NPR
Elbia sought asylum at the U.S. border after enduring years of brutal abuse at the hands of her husband in Guatemala. She had been beaten so badly by him that she had developed chronic numbness on one side of her body.read her story
Elbia won her case, and she and her son are now living with her brother in Virginia, free from fear and violence. Elbia has begun attending culinary school and aspires to be a chef someday.
Anonymous Salvadoran mother and child
The situation the mother and daughter face … shines a light on the ramifications of a June 11 decision by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that reversed protections for asylum seekers who say they are fleeing domestic violence.
The prospect that her sister might have no way to stay in the United States terrifies the aunt. She worries that if she is deported back to El Salvador, “she will be hiding and moving from town to town” to avoid her ex-boyfriend, she said, “or he will find her and kill her.”read more at the Washington Post
When I decided to leave Guatemala and come to the United States, I didn’t know much about the asylum process. All I knew was that I had to get out of my current abusive relationship.
Being granted asylum has been a huge blessing for me and my family. I don’t live in fear anymore, and it’s almost like my life from before never happened. I’ve decided to leave behind all the fear and trepidation. I used to always be worried, and now I’ve lost that fear and I’m calmer. I’m at peace.read more at TIME