By Shawn Chitnis

DENVER (CBS4) – A survivor of domestic violence who came to the U.S. to escape violence in Honduras says there are many more women like her in Colorado. She says many are unable to escape from their abusers who threaten they will be deported and use misinformation to keep them from getting the help they need.

“I came seeking asylum,” said a woman who asked we call her “Sarahi” in an interview with CBS4. “They killed my cousin.”

(credit: CBS)

She saw the violence in her native country first hand when she lost a loved one, those same criminals threatened to kill her as well. The small business she operated was succeeding and she knew her family faced danger if she remained in Honduras. So she came to the U.S. with the help of a man she thought she could trust. They eventually married and came to Colorado.

“When we were living in Honduras, my son was witnessing everything they were doing,” she said through a translator. “The mobsters started noticing that we were doing well.”

“Sarahi” eventually would receive a work permit to live in the U.S. but only after escaping her husband and experiencing physical and emotional abuse. She says he also hurt her son while they lived together.

“I had faith he was a good man, a Christian man,” she told CBS4 on Friday. “Things just started slowly changing and I realized he wasn’t the man I thought he was.”

Her husband not only forced her to work but made her drive even though she did not know how to earn a paycheck. Many times while talking to CBS4, she cried while explaining the abuse she experienced.

“It reached its limit when he started insulting me, he thought he was above everyone else,” she said.  “That’s one of the reasons it took me so long to get out because I didn’t know where to go.”

Angela Ceseña (credit: CBS)

Angela Ceseña is the executive director of Latina SafeHouse. She translated for “Sarahi” and works with survivors like her to help them find a safe escape from abuse.

“It’s really unfortunate how common it is,” Ceseña said.

One in three Latinas are survivors of domestic violence and the statistic could be higher as so many cases go unreported, according to Latina SafeHouse. Misinformation in these cases is often times a tool used by the abuser, so is the threat to get them sent out of the country. A challenge especially because so many victims come from mixed-status homes where some in their family are in the country legally but others are not.

“Often times immigration is one of those forms of abuse that goes unreported,” she said.

In the case of “Sarahi,” other women were enablers of her husband’s abuse and even responsible for some of the trauma she experienced in that house. Her husband’s mother and sister often made the situation worse, she said.

“Culture is used as an excuse or a justification,” Ceseña said.

Some of the challenges in Colorado are based on law enforcement and support groups trying to keep up with the growing number of Latinos. Latina SafeHouse works with district attorneys to educate them on the obstacles. Language is also a barrier because access to those who speak the same language is below in Denver compared to other major cities.

(credit: CBS)

“These are human beings and although there are different factors that can make it more challenging,” she said.

When “Sarahi” learned that her husband hit her son with a stick, she knew she had to leave even without any family nearby. She still fears for her life because she says her husband threatened his previous wife and her new partner after they divorced.

“I really do, I’m still scared, this isn’t the first time he’s done it,” she said. “What really motivated me was the last incident, when he threw my son against the wall.”

She has filed a police report and has found a new place for her family, her son and daughter. She shared some of the worst experiences of her abuse while talking to CBS4. Her husband kept food from her, even when she was pregnant. He even disconnected her battery so she could not use the car.

“Sometimes it feels like you’re living in an alley with no exit,” she said. “I was trapped, I felt trapped the whole time.”

When it came time to leave, “Sarahi” says it is important for women to know that they cannot be embarrassed to ask for help. She relied on her neighbors a lot, they gave her food when her husband did not. She hopes her story will help other women to leave as well.

“I would tell them to find the strength for themselves and for their kids and their families and find the way to leave,” she said.  “I’m still fighting and I’m moving forward and I’m going to continue to fight and continue to do better.”

Latina SafeHouse works with the Rose Andom Center, another resource for survivors of domestic violence. The organization will have its annual golf tournament to raise money for their work on June 28.


Shawn Chitnis

    Lets see, we have Democrat / Socialist / Activists in the Northern Triangle of South America & Mexico; even as you read this instructing the populations the “benefits” & laws of coming to the USA and to make sure you bring your children and use the the magic words…..”credible fear.” Mexico recently arrested two socialist activists who were instrumental in the organizing of prior caravans,

    Then you have a Democrat House saying the crisis is “manufactured” as literally thousands attack our border daily? National Sovereignty is a myth to Democrats. The crisis is manufactured…by the Democrats themselves. Make no mistake about this, Democrats want this to happen and never stop.. They will with hold border security support allowing as many illegal aliens to enter the country as possible overwhelming our BP & ICE before assisting in border security (if ever).

    To Democrats/Progressives/Socialists (whats the difference?) programs like Temporary Protective Status (TPS) or Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) or the “visa lottery” program (Chuck Schumer’s idea) are permanent programs. There is nothing “temporary or deferred” about these programs to Democrats. These programs are designed to admit refugees (usually from the third world) then Democrats fight to keep them here permanently using the charge of racism, religion, guilt, against anyone opposed. Simple formula works great.

    The current migration at our border is costing taxpayers a Kings ransom. Fleeing persecution? or fleeing for freebies? they sure don’t stay in Mexico when they reach “safety” or ask or offered political asylum in Mexico. Why? because Mexico will give them NOTHING. So they make the long journey to our border, our generous Democrats, and our tax dollars. Notice how many have made the long, difficult, dangerous journey to our country 8-9 months pregnant?

    Just a few examples of the more outrageous costs associated with illegal immigration, we will pass this burden on to our children & grand children as has been passed on to us.

    * City emergency services Taxpayer pay for every police, fire, paramedic service call for illegal aliens in their city. Taxpayers also pay for all hospital, emergency room treatments, ambulances, medications….everything. Hospital wait times for citizens are negatively impacted.

    *Cost of educating illegal aliens is staggering. From K-12 it costs taxpayers on average $122,000 for EACH illegal alien student. This does not include the millions spent on bilingual ED, instructors, special need children & day care. It is estimated nearly 100,000 illegal aliens graduate each year……you do the math. School class size are also negatively impacted by illegal aliens and our students suffer as a result.

    *Taxpayers in some states are funding “in state college tuition” discounts for illegal aliens. (AZ voted to terminate this taxpayer expense.) Cost to taxpayers over a billion dollars annually.

    *About one in five inmates in federal prison are foreign-born, & more than 90% of those are in the U.S illegally. This does not include local jails and state prisons. At roughly $24,000 per year expense per inmate.

    *$3Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate, process Illegal aliens in the criminal justice system.

    *$2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on is spent on food assistance programs such as SNAP, WIC, & taxpayer funded school lunches.

    *Mexico received 33 billion last year in remittance from our country. $120 billion total was sent out of the United States in total remittance last year.

    *Every child birth by illegal aliens in the U.S is paid for with tax dollars.In the US, the average cost to have a baby without complications during delivery, is $10,808, which can increase to $30,000 when factoring in care provided before and after pregnancy (July 9, 2018 google.)

    * Section 8 housing. Illegal aliens take full advantage of this program. Citizens & their families in poverty in many cases wait years behind non citizens for emergency housing.

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