Alice* was still living in the Middle East when she met the American man who would become her husband. She couldn’t have imagined back in those early days of courtship—before they were married and she moved to the United States to be with him—that the man she was falling in love with would soon become the greatest source of her fear.

The abuse began almost immediately after Alice arrived. Alice’s husband was mentally unstable, and he quickly became her captor. He abused her sexually, physically, emotionally. Alice, alone in a new country and unaware of the protections afforded to her by law, endured the nightmare in silence. But then her husband began to sexually abuse their infant daughter, and Alice knew she had to escape.

Alice found her way to a women’s shelter. Staff at the shelter—a collaborative partner of NLSLA—encouraged Alice to visit an NLSLA Domestic Abuse Self Help (DASH) Clinic.

NLSLA attorneys quickly took Alice on as a client, and helped her obtain a restraining order and dissolution of marriage. They also began the process of helping Alice gain permanent residency.

Today, Alice has sole legal and physical custody of her daughter, as well as a permanent residency card that has made it possible for her to find work and support her family. She is finally able to begin the healing process and shed the fear that had crippled her for so many years.

*Names have been changed to protect clients’ identities