Waiting for Freedom

Ms. J* came to the United States in 2001 and married her husband in 2003. He has been psychologically and physically abusive since the wedding and the abuse continues to the present day. He has taken her keys, wallet, credit card, cash and phone so that if she left the house, she couldn’t come back. During one incident when she was arguing with her mother-in-law, her husband threatened her with a knife.

Ms. J applied for a VAWA self-petition in 2016 and at the time of her interview in 2018, she had not received work authorization. She is college educated but her husband controls the family money. She feels socially isolated, afraid, and economically dependent on her husband because she can’t find stable work that pays her enough to be financially independent.

Because she’s been unable to get reliable work without work authorization, the only way Ms. J feels she can be financially stable is by relying on her abusive husband who still abuses her to this day.  She said that she feels like she has to stay in this relationship until she gets her work authorization but said, “I cannot wait until the day I can divorce him, work, access my own money and live alone.”

*name changed to protect client confidentiality