Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Violence against Women

This is an article from PBS.....

It is especially meaningful to us this week. Saturday night I had the mother of two of our sponsored students come to the house. She was desperate, she has two small children and a boy who is 15yrs old. She married this man 5 yrs ago and since then he has treated her very badly. He began beating her, verbally abusing her and worse than that for her, abusing her son. He originally gave him a small room to live in but recently kicked him out of the room and won't let him sleep there, his sponsor sent him a bed and he also won't let the boy have the bed is still leaning against the wall.

Recently he started hitting the 5yr old girl. The mother decided that she couldn't endure it any longer....the man was aware that she wanted to leave but she had no where to go so he would taunt her with that and tell her to "get out". Her mother is elderly and unwell and she didn't want her mother to know how badly things were going for her.

She only had her sister to turn to and her sister was helping her by paying her a small allowance to pick up her 4yr old niece and mind her while she was working. The husband refused to let the little girl in the house the other day and made her sit outside.

He also was not giving her enough money to feed the children so she was working. Whenever she went out of the house he would accuse her of looking for a boyfriend when in fact, she was ironing clothes in a private house and making just enough money to buy a little food for her children.

Her 15yr old son was working in the river before school, digging out sand , so that he would be able to buy food and extras for his schooling.

But the beatings continued and became worse. The mother was worried about her health and eventually, Saturday night decided that if she stayed, something may happen to her and then there would not be anyone to care for her children.

I arranged for her to talk to Sandra, our social worker on Monday morning.... Sandra arranged a legal aid to accompany the mother to the judge's office and she made a denouncement about the reasons she was leaving her husband. The judge signed a paper giving her the right to remove the small refrigerator ( she makes jello in small bags to sell ) , the bed that Mayan Families had given them, a two burner gas stove , their clothes, dishes etc.

When she came back to our office with this paper, we arranged to pay the first month's rent on a room for her.

This took all Monday to organize, first thing Tuesday morning she was back at the office. We had arranged that Mayerlin, who works with us and is a staunch defender of women's rights would accompany the mother to the police station. The judge had signed a paper saying that the police would accompany her to the home to be able to remove these goods. But we knew if we sent her alone she may sit for many hours at the police station before any action was taken.

We sent the Mayan Families pick up and three of our biggest, strongest looking men to move the furniture....the police would not help move the furniture, that is not their job...and if the husband came home it could be very difficult.

The husband did indeed hear that his wife was moving out and he came to the house.....he asked her why she was going....and the men were surprised how gentle he seemed and non violent. I explained to them that he was a coward and would only beat women and children....that with the men there and the police that he would not be violent. But he did tell his wife that he would start looking for another woman to fill her place.....I wish we could warn this poor woman whoever she will be!

I am sure that we have not heard the last of him. But I am so glad that this woman was brave enough to take the steps to move out....but I also know that without the support of Mayan Families she probably would not have done it. So, once again, we thank you for all that you do. We couldn't do any of this without your support.

This mother will need help to pay her rent for a few months and she will need help with food .....but I know she is a hard worker...she had already organized her own birth control because she did not want to bring another child into this violent situation. She will go onto have a better life and so will her children.

Thanks to you!

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