By: Women's Justice Initiative ||
Reaching Safety through WJI’s Legal Services
Tags: Violence against women and girls, Legal services, Blog, Covid-19
In 2019, WJI’s started collaborating with municipal offices in Tecpan in order to increase referrals for survivors of violence. When Ofelia visited the Justice of the Peace in Tecpan in order to seek a restraining order for her abusive husband, she was referred to WJI.
Ofelia moved in with her husband when she was 16 years old. Since then, she had suffered from “every form of violence” and was financially dependent on her husband. She did not know how to escape the abuse until last year, when she spoke with a paralegal at WJI and learned about her legal options.
After that first conversation, Ofelia finally felt like she wasn’t alone. The paralegal accompanied her over the phone to speak with the National Civilian Police and make sure that they took Ofelia’s case seriously. WJI also helped Ofelia open up a child support case.
Then, the pandemic arrived and everything was put on hold. The small tortilla shop where Ofelia worked had to cut back her hours due to the mandatory curfew. Her wages continued to decrease as sales went down and the shop had to spend more on cleaning supplies. With the courts closed, the child support case no longer seemed like an option.
Desperate for help, she called WJI to see if there were any alternatives. WJI’s paralegal helped mediate a conversation between Ofelia and her husband, and in the end they signed a child support agreement. Ofelia has received these payments for five months now. Thanks to the kindness and determination of WJI’s paralegal, Ofelia says that she feels safe, accompanied, and strong.
Now, she’s able to provide food for her children and focus on keeping them in school, so that they never have to face what she went through. Though she may feel limited by her education level, Ofelia aims to find a better job and keep earning more on her own. She knows that no one is immune from violence: “a lot of women suffer from violence and haven’t escaped that suffering. I would like to tell them that it’s possible to have a better life.”