Use this button to switch between dark and light mode.

Domestic, Sexual Violence Fuel Exodus from Central America

February 02, 2016 (1 min read)

Pamela Constable, Washington Post, Jan. 31, 2016 - "One woman described being raped, strangled and bashed against a wall by the father of her twin boys. Two teenagers said they were forced to become sex slaves for gang members. A young mother was severely beaten by her ex-boyfriend and obtained a court order against him, but gang members broke into her house and destroyed it.  All of them are seeking asylum in the United States, but not because of war, political persecution or the notorious gang battles that have led to unprecedented murder rates in their Central American homelands.  They are seeking refuge from a more intimate danger: abuse at the hands of men. ... A high percentage of the women seeking asylum from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are basing their claims on domestic or sexual violence, according to lawyers and advocates. They say their personal suffering sets them apart from others who crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally over the past two years — and qualifies them to be protected under laws originally passed to shelter foreigners facing political, religious or social persecution. ... “This is not a traditional conflict with armies in uniform or governments targeting dissidents,” said William Frelich, a Washington-based official of the nonprofit group Human Rights Watch. “Here we have predatory private groups acting with brutal impunity — forcibly recruiting boys, sexually enslaving girls — as well as abuse in the domestic context. These women and children are literally fleeing for their lives.” "