Behind A Closed Door

I got married very young in Mexico. I had my first child and began to experience domestic violence. My husband immigrated to the United States, and I thought that would be my opportunity to leave him, but after living in the USA for several months he threatened me that if I didn’t emigrate, he would take our son away from me too. So, I had no choice but to come to the USA crossing the border illegally. After months of arriving in this country, the abuses returned for several years, I had another daughter. By that time, I was in a migration process, but to my bad luck the terrorist attacks happened, and I was considered a terrorist of the USA for having entered the country several times without documents and being expelled. That was the beginning of my martyrdom and hell because my husband wanted me to be deported so he could get rid of me and keep my children. He was already seeing another woman. So, in order not to be deported I decided to hide from immigration and my husband, but I had to leave my children behind because if I took them with me, he would accuse me of kidnapping.

“That was the beginning of my martyrdom and hell because my husband wanted me to be deported so he could get rid of me and keep my children.”

I was in hiding for 5 years. While I was in hiding, I was living on the street in another city far from my aggressor and from immigration, I worked in the fields, but I began to suffer sexual harassment from the foremen, but as I did not accede, they treated me very badly until they fired me without paying me anything of what I had already worked. Then I had to work cleaning houses where I was abused a lot. On one occasion the employer wanted to force me to clean the house naked. According to him to make sure I didn’t steal anything, but I didn’t accept, and he fired me. And again, without paying me anything for what I had worked for, but I could not report it because I was hiding from immigration.

On another occasion another employer offered me his house to stay there in exchange for cleaning and cooking, but after a few weeks he locked me in and would not let me leave. That’s when the physical, psychological and sexual abuse started. He wanted his dog to do things to me like he did to me (horrible sexual acts and torture). Until I found a way to escape and I ran away.

After I continued wandering in the street, my husband found me and called immigration and I was detained. But I fought to defend my rights, but I was detained for several months. Being locked up in a detention center was another hell because the psychological abuse is very strong. There were times when we were given food that was spoiled. There was no drinking water or good medical services. Discrimination was very strong. I had no right to free sanitary products. I had to buy them, but with what money if I had no one to give me or send me money. It was so bad that I wanted to take my own life, but on the other hand I had to hold on and keep fighting because I wanted to fight for my children and I could not let them deport me. So, I was very resilient, I fought and held on until they let me out of that hell of being locked up. Thanks to an organization of free lawyers who touched their hearts to help me.

I got out to continue fighting for custody of my children and to be legal in this country. The judge gave me full custody of my children because I was able to prove to him that I was a victim of my husband, and he gave me a divorce. I then dedicated myself to fighting for victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Eventually I joined an organization that advocates for domestic workers’ rights and fought hard to expand workers’ rights against sexual harassment in the workplace. I have gone on to tell my stories to the senate and congress to create laws to protect immigrant people from any abuse and discrimination.

Those who wanted to bury me did not know that I was a seed, and I was born again. Now I am an activist grandmother and I have another husband who is very supportive.

Storyteller Adriana Addy Cazorla is Mexican. She has two children, a grandchild and is an activist.

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