She is a mother of 4. When she migrated to the United States from Mexico, she had no formal work experience or skills, spoke only the indigenous language Mixteco, and had an abusive partner. How can a woman like Eufemia seek safety from an abusive relationship and still provide for her family?
As we work towards the eradication of domestic and intimate partner violence through community outreach and advocacy, we help people like Eufemia. By providing access to information and services and making individualized plans to meet client needs, VIP is empowering women to create a stable and productive life free from violence.
Eufemia now runs her own business selling fruits and vegetables. After receiving a full scholarship to the International Center of New York, she is now learning her third language. She lives happily with her children and hopes to become a nurse.
In first person: Rosa's story
"My name is Rosa and I spent 20 years with a man who repeatedly insulted me. When we arrived to New York from Mexico, I worked 12 to 17 hour days to make rent and pay the bills. He hardly ever worked, blaming me that he couldn't since someone had to watch the children. In September of 2008, he fractured my jaw, which had just been operated on in March for an injury he was responsible for 8 years before. When I went to the hospital, I was told that my jaw could not be operated on because it had not healed from the last operation.
From there I went to a homeless shelter. It was very hard. I couldn't take my 5 children with me, only the youngest who were 6 and 14 years old. My children were appointed an attorney who then referred me to VIP. From the moment I arrived, VIP referred me to a group and a social worker who were supportive of me. In February, I received my working permit and filled out an application for Social Security. Shortly after, I started my job cleaning hotels.
I'm happy because VIP helped me a lot and I realized that it is possible to move past domestic violence. Hopefully, as a Promotora in the Adelante Mujer program, I can convince other battered women to seek help. I advise them to have faith and confidence because as women they can move forward. I put myself as an example, I lasted 20 years in abuse and I was able to move ahead. There is always help available as long as you want it. If you believe in God and have faith, anything is possible in life, only death has no solution."
Guadalupe is a college graduate from Venezuela who came to the United States with her first husband. They divorced and she got re-married to an American who was increasingly abusive to her during the course of their marriage. She was physically and psychologically abused. He had to know where she was at all times and often times he didn’t believe her when she told him. Finally, the day he called and threatened to kill her, she made an escape plan and left.
At one point, while they were still married, she went to go visit a friend in upstate New York and got pulled off a bus by ICE. She spent 20 days in immigration detention before being released. After she left her second husband, she moved into one of the VIP’s Safe Dwelling Apartments. After she left shelter, she continued to receive counseling and advocacy services at VIP’s Manhattan Compañeras where she worked with VIP staff to legalize her immigration status and take care of her other needs, since she had no legal way of earning income and no permanent place to live. In late December, Guadalupe received her work authorization card. Today, she is one of VIP’s first Promotoras with a real talent for using her experiences to help others in the community find domestic violence services.