Myths & Realities
MYTH: I don't know where I could go to be safe if I don't have papers to be in this country.
FACT: Services are available regardless of immigration status. In particular, non-profit organizations are explicitly exempt from verifying immigration status as a condition for providing services. Any non-profit or government domestic violence services program or shelter that denies assistance to immigrants who are undocumented is violating civil rights and fair housing laws.
MYTH: There aren't many immigrants who suffer domestic violence in this country.
FACT: Actually, immigrant women may suffer higher rates of battering than U.S. citizens because they may have less access to legal and social services. Often, many victims may believe that the penalties and protections of the U.S. legal system do not apply to them. With no place to Turn: Improving Advocacy for Battered Immigrant Women, Family Law Quarterly, vol. 29, no. 2, (Summer 1995).
MYTH: I am married to my abuser and I cannot leave because he says he is the only one that can petition for me to stay in this country. I have 2 small children that he supports as well.
FACT: As a victim of domestic violence, you may be eligible to petition for yourself and your children to stay in this country through the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Talk with a immigration legal advocate to assist you in the process.