Elena meets Matt
Elena* came to America in hopes of starting a better life; she hoped to find work, love and happiness. And she thought she had when she met Matt*, who quickly became a boyfriend, fiancée, and not shortly after that, a husband to Elena.
During their whirlwind of a romance, Elena knew Matt to have a bit of a jealous streak – he didn’t want Elena to apply for her employment card because he wanted all of her time to himself – and a fiery temper, but Elena was too in love to let it bother her much. She had uncovered the happiness she was seeking and was excited to have found a husband in less than a year of being in the U.S.
Small disagreements escalate
It wasn’t until after the couple was married that Matt’s fiery temper became far more serious, and even violent, towards Elena. Small disagreements escalated into eruptions of physical abuse and a constant steam of threats from Matt to report Elena’s undocumented status.
Elena felt trapped. She didn’t have the means to leave Matt, and even if she did, the fear that she could be deported was enough to make her stay with him.
The stress of the relationship caused Elena to fall ill, and she required a visiting community health worker to assist her. It was that same community health worker that discovered severe bruises on Elena from a recent argument with Matt, and recommended Elena call Crossroads’ Domestic Violence Program hotline for help. That night, she made the call.
Elena begins her journey home
When Elena came to the Domestic Violence program, she was frightened. But with the help of Crossroads staff, Elena realized that she could be safe and that Crossroads would provide her a place of safety while she worked on the goals she set for herself.
Crossroads connected Elena with an immigration advocate who quickly helped her obtain an authorization for an employment card, and continues to help Elena navigate the lengthy visa application process without the involvement of her husband.
And, with the help of her case manager, Elena was able to secure a safe place to call home, finally free of the stress and violence that her relationship with Matt had brought her. This was the fresh start she had been seeking all along.
Today, Elena lives happy and healthfully in her own home. She is enjoying the empowering experience of a newfound, independent life free from domestic violence.
*Names have been changed to protect client identity.