Domestic Violence: How to face it in my inmigrant condition?
Unfortunately, this is a very common question among the Latino community in the United States, especially among women:
My husband is a resident who he humiliates me, mistreats me, and he threatens me with my migratory situation, but he has never hit me. Nevertheless, I’m hurt because of the way he treats me, and I’m afraid of the threats he makes to me and that is why I have never reported him. ¿What should I do?
In this case above we are facing a serious case of domestic violence. This is a reality that happens inside many homes and must be handled with care.
We must understand that there are phases of domestic violence:
- When a person starts raising their voice and/or curses at their partner.
- When a partner begins to break objects, which may lead to an escalation or even physical violence.
- We have anger which can be as severe as to lead one to murder their partner.
However, it is not necessary to reach these extremes for domestic violence to exist.
You must carefully examine your situation because you may already be a victim of domestic violence.
A sad case of domestic violence occurs when a partner uses the immigration status of the other to force them, using threats, to do acts they may not feel comfortable with.
This often occurs in situations where a partner threatens the immigration status of their partner. The threats could be for either sex, forced work under hazardous conditions, or without fair remuneration.
Understanding, that you or someone you love may be a victim of domestic violence is a vital step in the right direction to gain help. Every state has its own proper resources including an emergency hotline, for protection and help against domestic violence.
Additionally, it is important to emphasize that domestic violence not only exists against women but also men can be victims of domestic violence.
What should I do in case of domestic violence?
If you are a victim of domestic violence, you have access to certain immigration benefits, either through a U-Visa or a VAWA, depending on the case. If you recall VAWA is for people who are victims of violence, whether male or female.
In this case, there must be a domestic relationship between the victim and the aggressor; that is, the aggressor must be a relative or spouse of the victim.
In addition, to qualify for VAWA, the assault must be at the hands of a resident or a citizen; that is, the attacker’s legal status is very important to VAWA. This is one of the aspects that lawyers must consider when presented with a VAWA case.
On the other hand, the status of the attacker has no significance with a U-Visa, but it does have to be a violent crime. The crime may not only be of domestic violence, although it does qualify, it can also be an assault, a sexual crime, or any violent crime that may qualify.
- That for the U-Visa we must first file a report which could be a certification from a police officer, a judge, or a prosecutor and is required.
- VAWA, on the other hand, can simply be documented through a doctor this is suitable for those who are in fear of their immigration status.
Those are the biggest differences between the U-Visa and the VAWA, but it is vital that we know them and understand them.
In any case, even though these two possibilities exist, these acts of violence must be well documented by an immigration lawyer.
There is protection for immigrants, but to access and utilize these benefits we must seek help. We understand that one may have a fear of reporting, especially if their legal situation is not clear.
For example, if you are in the United States illegally you may have the fear that if you denounce you will get deported or that the aggressor retaliates against you. In either case, it is important to speak out and report.