Wise Latina summit showcases services available to women after leaving abusive relationships

Several El Paso women’s groups are helping victims of domestic abuse by providing them with resources to resume a healthy, productive lives after leaving abusive relationships, speakers at a recent conference said. Among the services provided for domestic violence victims are rental assistance, replacement of damaged property, medical bills, counseling, and protective orders from the County Attorney’s Office are available for victims of violent crimes, but shelter is the most need resource, said Jessica Ugarte, a certified crime victim compensation services provider. “They’re used to receiving financial support from their abuser, so when they leave they’re not sure where they can go or how can they support themselves,” Ugarte said during the annual summit called “Enough is Enough. Ya Basta” on Oct. 6 at the El Paso Community College.

El Paso domestic violence shelter sees increased demand for services

EL PASO – Domestic violence reports are on the rise in Texas, which may be a sign that community education efforts are helping more victims to speak up. According to the Texas Department of Public Safety’s 2015 Texas Crime Report family violence incidents rose 4.9 percent in 2015. There were 194,872 reported incidents in 2015 compared to 185,817 in 2014. Figures for 2016 were not available in time for this article. Public safety agencies reported 5,382 incidents of domestic violence in El Paso county in 2015.

Latinas rise from history to raise voices against domestic violence

EL PASO – Chocolates and romance may be typical fare for a traditional Valentine’s Day, but not at Café Mayapán where the words of strong Latinas were served up on Feb. 14 in a series of performances to raise awareness against domestic violence. About 100 people attended the event, Tonantzín Rising, a part of the national One Billion Rising movement, sponsored locally by Wise Latina International and La Mujer Obrera. The event, in its third year, included traditional music, dance, and portrayals of famous Latinas, such La Malinche and Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz among others. “We renamed it Tonantzín Rising because to us we are people of the Earth, and Tonantzín is mother Earth,” said Cemelli De Aztlan, one of the coordinators of the event.

Lizdemar Najera, 40, mother of four was a victim of domestic abuse. (Marilyn Aleman/Borderzine.com)

Immigrant women survive domestic abuse thanks to protection from a federal law

SOCORRO, TX — Nestled on a dusty road in a small town of roughly 33,000 residents, sits a brightly colored hair salon tucked to the right side of a 7-Eleven. Bright red and royal blue stripes decorate the hair salon building, conveying a sense of patriotic awareness. Inside the shop, 40-year-old Lizdemar Najera greets customers with a smile and a hug, offering a variety of hairstyles at low costs. Taped on one wall is a sign with her mantra:
“I am Lizdemar: I am brave, compassionate, humble, easy to teach, optimistic, conscious, I feel a genuine pride in my appearance and in my work.”

Najera’s sweet personality and attitude of tender loving care hide her once dark past. The mother of four was a victim of domestic abuse, not once but twice in both of her marriages.

The National Domestic Hotline states that 15 percent of Americans admit to having been in a domestic relationship that included violence. (Azucena Santos/Borderzine.com)

An abusive relationship can lead to physical and emotional violence

EL PASO – On a regular workday, less than a year ago, Corina Rivera realized her life was in real danger. She had been the victim of physical and emotional abuse by her ex-boyfriend and now he was calling, wanting to meet with her to apologize for the “incidents” that had occurred in the last two months of their relationship. Rivera, 25, asked him to meet her in front of Wal-Mart. She thought a public place would be best. She noticed that he drove up in a car that was not his own.

“Se van trabajando la autoestima, los límites con la persona que ejerce violencia, el empoderamiento, la independencia saludable, y la apreciación que se deben de tener como mujeres”, dijo Brisa Trejo del Centro de Justicia para las Mujeres. (©iStockphoto/RelaxFoto)

Women victims of violence find refugee in Juarez

Lea esta historia en español
CIUDAD JUAREZ – The doors of the building opened suddenly as Blanca, a 31-year old woman, came in nervous and desperate. Once again, she had been beaten by her husband. Convinced by a neighbor to seek help, Blanca reached out to the Instituto Chihuahuense de la Mujer in Ciudad Juarez, an institute independent from the Mexican government that was created in 2002 as the city was rattled by the death of hundreds of women. “It is a process that takes place slowly,” Blanca said. “It is not easy.

One in every six girls in the United States and one in four boys is molested during childhood, according to the National Institution of Justice Report.

Fear of deportation stops women from reporting domestic violence

EL PASO – The woman standing in front of the audience could barely speak, signs of abuse still resonated in her voice, as she began her words became loud and clear. “She was strangled so badly by an abusive spouse that it literally affected her ability to speak, but when she did it was obvious that she definitely had something to say,” said Shannon Osborne, coordinator of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), during an interview. Osborne witnessed the woman tell an audience of men and women about her experience with domestic violence between her and her partner at a convention on resources available to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Osborne works at the WRC on campus helping provide victims of domestic violence and sexual assault assistance through various resources available on and off campus. “I encourage someone who has survived domestic abuse or sexual assault to talk to someone, if its 0-72 hours after the incident occurred I recommend that they contact STARS, the local rape crisis center. If it’s after that mark of time I recommend that they talk to someone at the Center Against Family Violence,” Osborne said.

One of the children from the shelter plays outside. (Idali Cruz/Borderzine.com)

Juarez children’s shelter finds Mexican donors as Americans stop giving

CIUDAD JUAREZ – The little boy about five years old, covered with dirt from head to toe, played outside on the hard cement with his old toys, not minding the cold and windy afternoon or the rain that threatened to start at any minute. He is one of the 100 children that live in Shelter Home Bethel, in this border city. Josefina Valencia, 59, founded the shelter 20 years ago when she took in a young boy who was addicted to drugs. “I told him that when he wanted to change his life to look for me. He was the first one that I ever helped.

Esther Chavez Cano remembered as a powerful force for women in Juarez

EL PASO — Esther Chavez Cano fought in Juarez against an epidemic of violence that killed 1,192 women during the last 18 years in what became known as the feminicidios. Chavez Cano, who died in 2009, was remembered in El Paso February 25 as a beacon of hope for women in Juarez. “She was a symbol of accomplishment, social commitment and change,” said Dr. Moira Murphy, a Professor at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). Chavez Cano was a human rights activist who brought attention to terrible violence committed against women and children in Juarez, Mexico, a city in a fight against drugs, corruption, and murder. Chavez worked endlessly assisting families of women who were murdered or the survivors of violence.

Women in need find a haven at the Frontera Women’s Foundation

EL PASO, Texas – A few basics of daily life like laundry detergent, toiletries and some medical essentials such as new dentures help 11 families with 30 children stay on track at a lower valley non-profit homeless shelter. The Reynolds house shelters families –mostly women and their children– who have fled from domestic violence in Juarez and who need some help getting back on their feet. This low-key shelter opened its doors 20 years ago when Director Dorothy Truax’s mother inherited her parent’s house. “The time she inherited it I had a brother who was working with homeless families and individuals and he used to bring them home to mom when he couldn’t find enough space. When she got this home she thought it would be a perfect place for the families.”

Throughout the last year-and-a-half the Reynolds house has housed an increase in families fleeing economic problems and the violence in Juarez.  The majority of the residents, however, are there because of domestic violence.