Immigration Blog

March 5, 2020

Being Born a Woman In Central America

Being Born a Woman In Central America

In the USA, the fight for equality started many years ago. Our fight stemmed from a time in history where women were not viewed as equal to men. Here in the USA, Women were once deprived of things such as public schooling, the ability to work alongside men and also have any position of power such as politics. Society viewed a women’s only role to be at home raising children. Though, the USA has made many advances and things have drastically changed we fail to realize that femicide is a huge epidemic happening outside our borders, particularly bad in Central America.

Bailey Immigration comes across people from all over the world, but a trend has been established from women and children fleeing their home coming from Central America. Below is a story of a young girl who came to the U.S. and sought help, hoping she would never need to return to Guatemala and the harsh realities she has endured for years.

Esperanza entered the USA in a legal manner in the Winter of 2015. Esperanza came to the U.S., at the young age of 20. She entered after receiving a Tourist Visa in her home country of Guatemala, to come as a group to perform with Mayan Artisans. In her home of Guatemala, she lived in a remote indigenous town, spoke Spanish and the indigenous dialect of Quiche and wore their typical indigenous clothing, which consisted of a skirt (pictured below).

In the USA, the fight for equality started many years ago. Our fight stemmed from a time in history where women were not viewed as equal to men. Here in the USA, Women were once deprived of things such as public schooling, the ability to work alongside men and also have any position of power such as politics. Society viewed a women’s only role to be at home raising children. Though, the USA has made many advances and things have drastically changed we fail to realize that femicide is a huge epidemic happening outside our borders, particularly bad in Central America.

Bailey Immigration comes across people from all over the world, but a trend has been established from women and children fleeing their home coming from Central America. Below is a story of a young girl who came to the U.S. and sought help, hoping she would never need to return to Guatemala and the harsh realities she has endured for years.

Esperanza entered the USA in a legal manner in the Winter of 2015. Esperanza came to the U.S., at the young age of 20. She entered after receiving a Tourist Visa in her home country of Guatemala, to come as a group to perform with Mayan Artisans. In her home of Guatemala, she lived in a remote indigenous town, spoke Spanish and the indigenous dialect of Quiche and wore their typical indigenous clothing, which consisted of a skirt (pictured below).

Her parents were unfortunately very physically and emotionally abusive. Her father told her that a woman had no business going to school and she had to discontinue her education after the 2d grade. She was 9 years old when she was forced to work long hours, sometimes 10 to 12 hours a day. She worked alongside her parents in the agriculture work field. She was deprived of food, and breaks. She ate once a day and her parents let her know she ought to be grateful she even gets that one meal.

When she wasn’t working in the fields, she was verbally and physically abused at home. Her parents found any wrongdoing or no wrongdoing at all, as a reason to beat her. Esperanza knew she could not report the abuse to the authorities as crimes against women and children often go unpunished and overlooked. She knew the abuse would only worsen if her parents discovered she made any reports. So instead she stayed quiet and for the next 10 years she lived in fear of upsetting her parents. As she got older, her parents went to work occasionally, but mainly depended on her and the income she would earn to support them all. Esperanza was the youngest of 7 siblings. All her siblings had fled home due to the abuse they endured from her parents; she however, was the last to be home with them. They kept a tight leash around her, never letting her go anywhere if not for work fearing she too would leave them.

MS gang members are in complete control of the entire country of Guatemala. With a heavily corrupt government system, even police officers fear MS gang members. They run the streets of Guatemala terrorizing its community, involved in crimes such as burglary, assaults, murder, rape and extortion to name a few.

Things took a downwards turn when she began getting unwanted attention from members of the infamous gang Mara-Salvatrucha (MS). On her way to work at about 4 or 5 am, before the sun had begun to rise, four MS members approached her. They wanted her to be part of their gang and in particular be their woman. She refused and continued on her way to work. They do not take ‘no’ lightly, and persisted to harass Esperanza for many months to follow.

The MS gang members stalked her, they learned her daily routine and would find her on the streets on her way to work. They sexually assaulted her. She did her best to run away but inevitably they overpowered her and was gang raped her repeatedly.  As they abused her and she begged and cried, they let her know that she is indigenous and no one cares for indigenous women; they let her know no one would rescue her and she was better off with them. They threatened to kill her if she continued to resist them, and told her she was a woman and no one cared what would happen to her; they told her she would be just another dead woman in Guatemala.

She wanted to stop working so she could avoid seeing them on the street but her abusive parents did not take to this very well. They forced her to go, as they depended on earnings. Esperanza hesitantly confided in her parents and told them the sexual abuse she was suffering. They became angry and beat her, they blamed her for attracting their attention, they told her had she carried herself like a respectable indigenous woman this would not be happening to her.

Her only escape was her artisan group. When she was offered the opportunity to travel with her artisan group to various places, including the USA, she knew this would be her only escape. She arrived in the USA and instantly noticed the difference in the community. She felt safe for the first time in her life. Instead of returning home to Guatemala, she made contact with a sibling she had not seen since she was 6 years old. Her sibling helped pay for her flight to the Northwest from the East Coast to visit with him. He was unaware of the turmoil she was fleeing from and they sought legal help the minute she arrived and disclosed to our office what had occurred.

Bailey immigration is happy to announce Esperanza was granted Asylum, and she will soon be a legal permanent resident (green card holder). We anticipate no issues in helping her obtain her LPR status and have found great joy in being apart of her immigration journey.

It is stories like this that make us grateful for the opportunities we have here in the USA. It also opens our eyes to the real reasons immigrants come to the USA. It is not to commit crime and steal jobs but for the opportunity to simply have a life to live without persecution. Asylum law is a complex process and is becoming more difficult under the current administration.  If you need help in applying for asylum, please don’t hesitate to call for a free consultation (503)224-0950. We will give an honest answer about the strength of your case and will help you through the asylum process.