In winter 2004 I left my home country to seek a better life in the United States. My goal was to work and study English to help my family in Honduras.
Months later, I started English classes at a local church, and it was there where I met my ex-partner. He and I studied English in the same class for several months, and we developed a romantic relationship.
At first, it seemed like a fairy tale; everything was going well. But before Christmas in 2005, my ex-partner became abusive after an argument we had. He slapped me across the face for the first time. I was 25 years old and refused to put up with the abuse, so I decided to leave the relationship. But weeks later I found out I would always be tied to this man: I was pregnant with his daughter.
I worked in an industrial laundromat. When my boss found out I was pregnant, he fired me because pregnant women were not allowed near the industrial washing machines. Being pregnant and jobless, I had no choice. I was forced to seek help from my unborn child’s father and eventually moved in with him.
My life became hell living with this person. It was almost four years of abuse and threats, but for me that felt like an eternity. I got stuck in a sick cycle. If I managed to get away from him, he would find a way to draw me back into his life.
In 2009 my ex-partner was arrested and returned to Honduras for a crime he committed against his family. I was able to breathe and begin to live again. I met a good man who not only cared for me but also raised my daughter as his own. Unfortunately, two years later, my ex-partner came back to the U.S. and came looking for me and our daughter. He no longer had control over me, but he convinced me to let him spend time with our daughter. Not wanting to deny him parental rights, I made the mistake of agreeing to his request — a mistake that could have ended in a tragedy. He tried to kidnap my daughter! Thankfully, the authorities were able to intervene just in time. They arrested him and then he was returned to his home country. Weeks later I found out he had been killed in a bar fight.
I knew I needed to start healing, and it was with Tahirih’s support that I was able to do that. Tahirih helped me apply for a U visa, which allowed me to stay in the U.S. They also helped me access mental health services so I could boost my self-esteem and leave my past behind. Today, I can provide for my family and live in a home where my two daughters and I feel safe. My constant prayer is that my children never go through what I endured.
Though domestic violence leaves a mark, with the right resources and tools, one can move forward and heal from the trauma. I hope that my experience can help anyone else who is currently living in a similar situation, I’d say to them: we are not alone.