A collective silence fell over the packed ballroom as 600 guests listened to the story of Aracely. A woman whose resilience, determination, and strength, is unmatched.
Aracely’s story began in Honduras, where she lived with her family in a small community. At age 15, a man in her village known for his violent temper became fixated on pursuing her. She knew to be scared.
One day, as she walked home from a friend’s house, this man kidnapped her, forced her to walk for an hour into the mountains, and raped her on the rocks.
Months later, she found herself pregnant with her first son, Juancito.
Over the next few years, Aracely was forced to live in fear. Her abuser continued to taunt her. And one day, while her mother was not home, broke down the door, and raped her.
Months later, she found herself pregnant with her second son, Daniel.
Years went by, and Aracely raised her sons with her mother’s help. She even met a man who cared for her, and she became pregnant with a daughter. But when her abuser learned of this, he returned once again. This time, he dragged Aracely, and her two sons, to the same mountains where he first raped her, and trauma turned to tragedy. Her abuser shot her in the head, killed her two sons, and killed himself.
After months in the hospital, Aracely gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but her life was still in danger. Her abuser’s family, and the community as a whole, blamed her for his death. She received daily threats and even tried escaping to another nearby village. But her abuser’s family sent gangs to find her.
Aracely’s only chance to stay alive was to flee to the United States, where she was granted asylum. Her daughter was able to join her under her grant of asylum.
“I want to thank the Tahirih Justice Center. You helped me change my life.”
Aracely represents thousands of heroic women and girls who are demanding freedom from violence. Her story of bravery and hope demonstrates the remarkable journey Tahirih clients face each and every day.
“I feel safe. And my daughters are safe. To women who are like me, I hope you find Tahirih and get help.”
Joined by her husband, her three daughters, and her own mother, who flew from Honduras to celebrate Mother’s Day and witness her daughter’s courage, Aracely blessed us with her story, inspired us with her strength, and gave voice to all of Tahirih’s clients. To her, we must say thank you.
Watch Aracely’s Story
Watch Aracely’s Courageous Voice Award Speech
This is an extraordinary moment in Tahirih Justice Center’s 20-year history. We are replicating our efficient, effective, and innovative services nationally. We need your help to raise $10 million so that Tahirih can expand to other cities and increase by 250% the number of women and girls served by 2017, transforming lives, laws, and communities. Donate today.