Lucia* is a courageous young mother who risked everything to escape one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women. We asked her if we could share her story with you, and she said “yes.” Because right now there are thousands of women like her in dire need of help, and they can’t overcome horrific human rights abuses without your support. It was supporters like you who brought Lucia hope for the first time in her life.
This is Lucia’s story:
I was forced to marry my husband when I was only 14 years old. He beat me and did not stop. He threatened to kill me and take away my daughter.
He beat me with his pistol and left me for dead in a public square. I got up. I grabbed my baby daughter. We ran.
My husband was in a powerful gang, and he told me his friends would find me wherever I hid. I thought my parents would help me, but when I went to father’s house, he tied me up in a chair and threw boiling water on me. He told me to get out and go home to my husband. My last hope was to get out of Guatemala. My baby and I made it to the U.S. border. But once we got there, we were arrested and sent to a detention center in Texas.
It felt like jail.
My daughter got sick, and no one gave her medicine. Then, a lawyer from Tahirih Justice Center came. She found a way to get us out of that horrible place! Without her, we would still be in danger, wandering the streets of Guatemala, fearing for our lives.
Now, my daughter and I have hope for the first time in our lives.
Did you know that about 70% of women like Lucia are never able to find legal representation? Without it, a staggering 99% are sent back to face the danger they fled.** Right now, there are more refugees like Lucia fleeing violence and persecution than at any time since World War II.
During this time of global pain, it is vital that we show compassion to those, like Lucia and her baby, who are hit the hardest in times of turmoil.
Your generous year-end gift will give women like Lucia hope. It means we can continue to protect courageous immigrant women and girls fleeing extreme violence in 2016. It means we can continue our pioneering policy advocacy and award-winning training for attorneys, police, doctors, and other professionals. It means we’re one step closer to a world where ALL women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.
Thank you for standing with women and girls like Lucia with nowhere else to turn.
*Client’s name and image have been changed for her protection. Her story is based on her appeal for release from a detention center in Karnes, Texas.
**Data from TRAC, Syracuse University, Last accessed Nov. 17, 2015 at http://trac.syr.edu/immigration/reports/377/.