The present is Female.
Our female-strong staff recently shared their thoughts regarding the resilient women we meet through HRI everyday.
Zeyla Gonzales, DOJ Accredited Representative, HRI.
Our clients in the Crime Victims Program at HRI come to us having just survived some of the most traumatic moments in their lives. Even while processing the trauma from being victimized by strangers or family members, many of these women continue to be sources of support to others in their communities. They continue to raise their families and participate in their churches. They continue to dream and work for better futures for their family and themselves. Even though they have seen the worst that humans can do to one another, they continue to show compassion to others. And most importantly they continue to love. Persevering with strength in the face of adversity is not easy. But our clients continue to do so every single day. Our work in the Crime Victims Programs helps women and girls apply for legal status to live and work in the United States. The work we do does not give women and girls strength or a voice. I believe that is inside women and girls from the beginning. Our work helps women find their strength and voice that may have been lost or suppressed through the abuse they have suffered.
Emily Heger, AT&T and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP Equal Justice Works Fellow
At HRI, we join the efforts of advocates who are not giving up on women and girls who need refuge in the United States, but we must fight for recognition of their human rights. Our U.S. asylum statute ignores the fact that, around the world, women and girls are persecuted because of their gender. Last year, on International Women’s Day, we asked our clients what asylum means to them, and we are continuously inspired by their resilience and strength.
- “Winning asylum here in the U.S. means saving our lives, mine and my two daughters. It means sparing our lives from being killed or persecuted. Unfortunately, in my home country, I’m considered an ‘ex-Muslim’ and the penalty for this is death, horrible death for me and my girls. Threats come from all directions–my family, community, the government. So asylum for us is literally LIFE.” — S, from the Middle East, escaping threats of ‘honor killings’ against herself and her daughters
- “Asylum is hope for my life! For me to feel protected, that my aggressor would not be able to hurt me. He will not be able to hit me or kill me. Being in this country where laws do apply gives me peace of mind, something I could not obtain in my country given that the police and state would never help me. I want asylum because I want the opportunity to live.” — M, mom of 3 and attorney, fleeing violent abuse from her partner in Central America
- “Winning asylum means being sure my family and I will be free from persecution. I will be sure that no one will force, threaten me or my daughters to involuntary female circumcision or even persecute us for refusing to be genitally mutilated. It would mean a new lease on life to bring up our children in an environment that allows them to thrive and accepts their strength and individuality.” — E, an attorney from Africa, fleeing forced FGM on herself and her two daughters.