The reality of domestic violence among pregnant women.
Mirna will never be able to see her third child grow up. “I was so excited about having a third child! I was going to finally have a girl. I was 38 and knew this was going to be my last chance to have a baby girl. I was going to name her “Hope”.”
“But my hope ended when I didn’t reply to one of my husband’s text messages. He controlled every single minute of my life. That day, he came back from work so angry because I did not respond. He hit me extremely hard in my stomach even though I was pregnant. He then kicked me out of my home and would not let me back in. I was begging him to take me to the hospital, but he threatened to kill me if I reported it to the police. Unfortunately, it finally happened… my baby died a couple of hours later due to the trauma.”
Mirna is just one of the 300,000 pregnant women who are victims of domestic violence every year (National Institute of Health). These types of violence do not distinguish age, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or educational background. In most cases, there is a history of abuse. In fact, the miscarriage that Mirna experienced was just one of the many instances of abuse she had to endure.
Mirna asked for a cup of coffee and continued to share her situation. “After that, I tried to leave him, and I lived in a car for two weeks. Then in a shelter, but I had to go back to him because I got really sick”. Her lips and hands were shaking at that moment. It was not the snow of that cold morning of December. It was her body reacting while trying to describe to a JAMLAC attorney the day she finally decided to leave him.
Mirna took a deep breath and with a broken voice, she continued with her story…
“Do you have children? Can you imagine how I felt when my drunk husband locked my kids out of the house in freezing temperatures? At that moment something inside of me gave me the courage to run with them and leave everything to protect them.”
“Now, I don’t have a warm house to sleep in. I don’t have the means to take my children to therapies. I don’t have my baby girl. And, sometimes, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to provide food for them. But, from the heavens, my baby Hope is giving me the strength to continue. I have the hope that someone will finally hear me.”
This month Mirna filed for divorce and received a protection order for her and her two children. We were able to approach her case in a holistic way. She not only received legal aid, but she was also referred to different resources to help with her continuing needs. You made this possible. People like you are helping transform lives every month and impacting the community. In fact, a study by the Institute for Policy Integrity found that civil legal aid is more effective than access to shelters or counseling services in reducing domestic violence — by as much as 21%.
Supporters at JAMLAC are giving Mirna and her children the legal assistance they need to feel secure and empowered to direct their own lives. Through JAMLAC, you are not only providing one of the best resources to help reduce domestic violence, but you are also giving families the opportunity to dream of a better life!