Sofia’s Struggle

with Domestic Violence

Sofia* is a Latin American woman and mother of two children, who recently received humanitarian protection through Casa Cornelia’s Victims of Crime program.

When Sofia* was 17, she met her future husband Miguel*. They started a family together and eventually moved to the United States. However, Sofia did not know that moving to the U.S. served a hidden purpose: Miguel had embezzled from his work place and was fleeing the country.

Life in the U.S. seemed fine for a while, but eventually, Miguel became verbally, physically, and sexually abusive. Fragile and exhausted from his behavior, Sofia took the children and left him. Thinking of her children’s well-being, Sofia chose to maintain contact with Miguel, allowing him to visit the children on the weekends.

To her horror, during a weekend visitation, Miguel kidnapped the children. Sofia filed police reports in the U.S. and in her country of origin, but never received follow-up information or support. Distressed, she took it upon herself to search for the children. After almost a year of searching, Miguel contacted her with an ultimatum. In order to see her children, he demanded that she sell her belongings and relocate to the city where he and the children were living. Out of desperation, Sofia complied with her husband’s orders. During their time away from their mother, Miguel told the kids that she abandoned them. Sofia knew that, no matter how much Miguel had manipulated her kids, telling them the truth would put her at risk of losing them again.

The abuse continued for over 10 years, but Sofia made the best of the situation and eventually lived with Miguel again. He controlled every aspect of her life. One day she had enough and resisted his demands. Enraged, he tried to kidnap the children again, but this time they were older and refused to leave with him. After the incident, she forced Miguel out of the home with a restraining order. She then reached out to the Center for Community Solutions (CCS), a partner non-profit organization that serves victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and CCS referred her to Casa Cornelia for legal help. Casa Cornelia Associate Attorney Evelyn Lopez filed for a U Visa on Sofia’s behalf, which is granted to undocumented victims of serious crimes who cooperate with law enforcement in the investigation and prosecution of a crime.

After helping law enforcement investigate Miguel, Sofia has now regularized her immigration status and is able to support her children and build a new life in the U.S.

Thank you for providing a path to hope for Sofia and her children by supporting Casa Cornelia!

*Names and images have been changed to protect client’s confidentiality.

Life in the U.S. seemed fine for a while, but eventually, Miguel became verbally, physically, and sexually abusive.