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Statistics and Impact of NYAWCWhile we work to ensure that services are available for Asian immigrant survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, NYAWC provides services to all survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking, regardless of race, creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or citizenship status.
The effect of our services is far-reaching, impacting the lives of hundreds of women every year. Consider these statistics:
Domestic violence is a tragedy that affects all segments of the U.S. population, but immigrant women face unique challenges. Language, cultural, legal and economic barriers leave Asian immigrant women especially vulnerable to abuse. NYAWC services empower women to overcome these barriers.
Julie finally left her abuser and entered a NYAWC shelter after her husband was arrested for breaking her hand with a fax machine. After entering our shelter, Julie made good use of her freedom. She enrolled in an ESL class and her English improved tremendously. With the help of NYAWC staff and pro-bono attorneys, Julie self-petitioned for a green card through the Violence Against Women Act and was granted a permit to work in the U.S. She is now working part-time in an office and continues to study English with the hopes of eventually earning a degree in Business Administration. Julie managed to save enough money to secure a private apartment for herself and is now living in a safe environment.
“When I was with my husband he would always put me down - calling me stupid and saying that I could not leave him because I would never be able to take care of myself. I believed him because I did not graduate from school, never had a job, and did not speak English. I wanted to take English classes, but he would not allow me to leave the neighborhood around our house and I did not have my own money to pay for classes.
The police referred me to the NYAWC after my husband was arrested
for beating me. I was so scared to be on my own at first and thought
about returning to him. But my counselor taught me that I can take care
of myself. I have a job and my own apartment now. And I am paying for
English classes with money from my own bank account!”
Helen arrived at our shelter with a year-old baby in her arms, drained emotionally, physically and mentally. She received food, clothes and a small grant for expenses like medications for herself and her child. Counseling services and support meetings with other residents gave her the emotional strength to pursue criminal proceedings against her in-laws and recover her documents from them. NYAWC advocated for her to receive Medicaid and other public assistance. Finally, with the help of a legal referral, she filed for a green card and within four months she received the document. Soon, the housing manager at NYAWC helped her find a place to live and moved out of the shelter into her own two bedroom apartment-a small start to her dream of a happy loving family.
“When I first heard that I could move into a shelter, I was
scared because I did not know what to expect. But after I arrived at
the New York Asian Women's Center's shelter my years of living in fear
began to melt away. I have my own room there for myself and my baby.
I have made friends with several of the other women and every night
we make dinner together and talk about our lives. It feels so good to
have other women who have gone through this to talk to.”
The abuse continued in severe physical, psychological and financial forms until Wendy discovered her husband had been using her credit and forging her signature on multiple credit cards, running up over $100,000 in debt in her name. When she confronted him, he pushed her to the ground and began choking her, smothering her screams with a pillow. Before she passed out Wendy managed to grab her cell phone and dial a friend, who quickly called the police.
The police came and arrested her husband and referred Wendy to the NYAWC. Since then she has been closely working with her counselor. Wendy decided that to move forward with criminal proceedings and has received a criminal order of protection against her husband. She is working through the courts to clear the debt he ran up in her name. She is also reconstructing her life, moving into a new apartment, preparing for divorce and getting counseling help from NYAWC for her traumatized son.
“As a doctor, I had referred my own patients to domestic violence organizations, but I never thought to seek help for myself. I wanted to make my marriage work. My NYAWC counselor has helped me understand domestic violence better, and has supported me while I start my new life.”
Although she was scared to call at first, Diana eventually called our hotline and began regular meetings with a Counselor. During counseling services, Diana spoke of her constant fear of her husband. She also expressed her fear, anxiety, and insecurity about her and her children's future. She realized that this was not the life that she wanted them to grow up in. With the support of her counselor, she was able to gain back her confidence and became determined to break free from her husband's hold on her life. Eventually she decided to proceed with a divorce.
The NYAWC counselor linked her to an attorney and went with her to all of her legal appointments. She received an order of protection against her husband and filed for divorce. Diana's case was an amazing success. She was granted rights to the marital home as well as child support. Once the legal case was settled, Diana focused on finding employment so she could support herself and her children. Diana's children also began meeting with NYAWC counselors to help them overcome the trauma they experienced. Next year Diana is proud to be sending her oldest daughter to college.
“My husband and I came to the U.S. from Korea for his work. He had abused me for years, but I did not know where to go for help. He told me that if I left him he would not support my visa and I would be arrested. I was scared to go to the police and I did not know where to turn for help. Then a friend told me about the New York Asian Women's Center.
I did not call at first because I was scared that I would have to
leave my home. But when the abuse got worse, I called and talked to
a counselor. My counselor helped me overcome my fears. She also helped
me get legal services so that I could apply for my own visa, get an
order of protection against my husband, and eventually a divorce. My
children and I were able to stay in our home, near our friends and their
school, and thanks to NYAWC I have found a job to support us.”
When she and her NYAWC counselor first met, Sue did not accept the fact that she was being abused. She kept saying, "I understand in my head what he did to me, but I can't believe he would actually do that to me. I do not think this is domestic violence." Sue told her counselor that each time her boyfriend controlled or threatened her, and especially when he had begged her to get back together, she found that her emotions and feelings were increasingly silenced. She had become desensitized to the violence, and was accepting it as a part of her daily life.
After just a few counseling sessions, Sue was able to see that she is a survivor of domestic violence. She has cut off all contact with her abuser and is prepared to go to criminal court to obtain an order of protection if he tries to contact her. She has finally started to process her emotions, expressing anger, shame and sadness. She is just now realizing the impact that the abuse violence has had in her life. Sue continues to meet with NYAWC counselors and wants to start a discussion group about dating violence for young women at her college.
“When I first came to the NYAWC, I did not understand what
had happened to me. The abuse started so gradually, I did not realize
how bad it had become. I never thought it could happen to me, and since
we weren't married I did not know if it would be considered domestic
violence. Talking to my NYAWC counselor about the violence helped me
see it for what it was.”
When she fled her daughter's home, Mimi was almost 70 years old. Although she was highly independent with day-to-day tasks, she was at a loss when it came to interacting with the outside world. Even though she had lived in the U.S. for five years, she did not know much about American culture, did not have any English language skills, and had no friends or family that could support her. Fortunately, she was referred to the NYAWC and entered one of our shelters.
NYAWC helped Mimi obtain an order of protection against her daughter from Family Court. Because she never learned how to use the subway, NYAWC taught her how to get to and from various places. Mimi eventually learned how to ride the subway, regularly taking it to her health clinic and to a Chinese senior center, where she began to participate in social activities. NYAWC also helped Mimi find an apartment in a supportive senior housing facility. Mimi soon entered her new apartment, became very independent, and is close friends with several of the other elderly women living in the facility.
“When I came to the U.S., I thought it was to spend my retirement
surrounded by my beautiful grandchildren. But my daughter forced me
to do all of the housework and would hit me and yell at me if I did
not do something the way she liked it. I did not know there was a place
that could help me until someone told me about the New York Asian Women's
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