Sylvia’s Story

After coming to the United States to live with family, Sylvia fell in love and married a U.S. citizen. Soon, her husband became physically and emotionally abusive. He threatened to have Sylvia deported if she reported his attacks. Sylvia’s husband also had control over her ability to obtain a green card. For more than nine years, Sylvia was held hostage by abuse and threats.  Her escape began when a friend referred Sylvia to ABLE. Staff helped her file a VAWA self-petition, a special residency status for domestic violence victims married to U.S. citizens. ABLE referred Sylvia to a local safe house and resource center for abuse survivors.

With these tools, Sylvia became a lawful permanent resident and completely self-sufficient.