Immigrants who have experienced domestic violence may be interested in a story about an Indian woman who finally received political asylum from the United States. The woman escaped a serious domestic violence situation in her home country 15 years ago, but did not receive asylum until recently. The ruling of the judge has finally allowed her to have peace of mind.
The woman claims she was forced into an arranged marriage when she was only 17 years old. The violence began early in her marriage, but escalated after she gave birth to the couple’s two children. The man broke her nose, affecting her sense of smell and also kicked her in the stomach violently enough to require a hysterectomy. She was in the violent marriage for over ten years and was forced to leave her children behind when she left because she feared she couldn’t support them.
The woman has been unable to see her son, now 28, but was able to visit her 25-year-old daughter thanks to a United States work visa. The woman’s case has been repeatedly delayed due to a promise by the federal government to issue guidelines concerning asylum involving victims of domestic violence. However, that promise never materialized and the woman’s case remained in limbo. A U.S. immigration judge finally granted the woman political asylum in June of this year, reversing his 1998 order for deportation in the case.
Immigrants living in the San Diego area can request asylum under certain circumstances. This woman’s case was a long time coming and finally allows her to live in peace. Domestic violence can affect anyone, no matter their citizenship status; in this case, asylum was one of this woman’s only options to escape the violence that plagued her for years. The process for seeking asylum is complex, and government guidelines on the issue are subject to change. Knowing one’s legal rights can only serve to help those who wish to request asylum.
Source: Indiawest, “Asylum After 15 Years for Domestic Abuse Victim,” Aug. 20, 2012