By: Forced Marriage Initiative Project Associate, Hellitz Villegas
Our clients have been deeply impacted by the pandemic. The majority of our clients face harm from their parents, siblings, or other unsafe family members. Often, there is no one in the home they can turn to for help. Several of our clients are now trapped inside with “partners” they never wanted to be with. Unable to seek refuge at schools, community centers, or libraries, as they are all closed. Unable to seek assistance as they are being constantly monitored. Harm has intensified in households with reduced income, as individuals causing harm take out their frustrations on our clients.
Our clients are distressed and worried. Some face unimaginable physical and sexual abuse. They are incredibly lonely as they lack familial support; oftentimes speaking to family members outside the home could jeopardize their safety. The lack of social contact has many feeling more depressed each day. We have clients who were once actively working, but are now homeless – living out of their vehicle, or motels when they can afford it.
Despite these countless difficulties, our clients continue to push forward and wish for a better, safer day. Every day they strategize in order to minimize harm at home, and they reach out to us for support whenever possible. Those who can are going to every open business trying to find employment.
Every day they try, every day they persevere, and we are so fortunate to be able to work with such courageous individuals.
If you are able, please consider supporting Tahirih’s most vulnerable clients by contributing directly to the Client Fund, which provides financial assistance and critical essentials to clients with urgent medical, food, and shelter needs.