At 15, I was kidnapped from my village in Honduras by a man named Juan. He forced me to walk for more than an hour into the mountains, where he beat me with a belt, bit me all over my body, and raped me on sharp rocks that cut into my back. Then, he locked me in a bedroom for three days and continued his torture. I finally escaped, climbing over the barbed wire fence surrounding his house.
But I was still not safe. He came for me again and again. He threatened to kill my parents if I refused him. His abuse of my body and my spirit continued for six years. I gave birth to two of his sons. Finally, in a fit of jealous rage, he shot me, our two sons, and then himself. My precious children—only 2 and 6 years old—died instantly, along with him. By some miracle, I survived. And so did my daughter, who was four months away from being born.
Juan’s family blamed me and continued to threaten to kill my family, even shooting into my parents’ house, injuring me and my mother. I fled the village, but they sent gangs to follow me. The U.S. was my only chance to stay alive.
Tahirih saved my life and helped me heal. Thank you for helping Tahirih help me.
Tahirih will celebrate Aracely as the 2017 Courageous Voice Honoree at the 20th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, May 11, 2017 at the Marriott Marquis, 901 Massachusetts Ave NW in Washington, DC.
The gala pays tribute to the incredible courage of Tahirih clients, and renews the commitment to end the epidemic of violence against women and girls, to which no community is immune. Each year, a Courageous Voice Honoree is named to represent the heroic women and girls Tahirih serves.