From the article:
"Latina women feel that this treatment is normal," said Maria through an interpreter in the offices of Staten Island Legal Services, St. George. "It is common in Mexico for a man to hit a woman. My oldest boy ran from the room when it was happening to me. That is not normal. My two others saw it happening. That is not normal. I want women to know that if they want to leave their situation, they can. It is difficult, but you can do it. You may feel the world is closing in on you, but there is another way."
That other way for Maria was contacting a Spanish-speaking social worker she learned about through a story a friend read to her in the Advance. Two months ago, that social worker led her to Legal Services, where director and attorney Nancy Goldhill,social worker Claire McCue and interpreter Christina Rivera have been helping Maria navigate the court system and, because she is undocumented, assisting her in her goal of attaining citizenship. She considers Staten Island her home and wants to remain here.
Maria fled her homeland 15 years ago, with the man who would father her three children, to seek a better life. They came to Staten Island and have been living on the North Shore ever since. But the man, whom she never married, beat her regularly, leaving her with ongoing health problems. He also kept her isolated from anyone with whom she might network or from whom she might gain assistance, including help with learning English. He also terrified her by telling her that if she sought help from the police, she would be deported and the children taken from her.
Legally, as Maria now knows, neither is the case: The NYPD is not permitted to ask about an individual's immigration status.
There are now three separate orders of protection barring the man from coming near Maria and the children.
Read the full article at SILIVE.COM