While 13-year-old children in the United States enjoyed packed lunches and field trips in middle school, Sofia* was being abused and repeatedly raped by her 26 year old teacher in Guatemala. After Sofia’s family found out that the teacher had been assaulting her for an entire year, they forced her to marry him to protect their pride.
Sofia’s new husband forced her to perform labor and continuously raped her. He refused to let her see her family, or to even finish middle school. After two years of enduring his abuse, Sofia managed to escape to freedom in the United States. The escape was not easy. At 15, Sofia wandered through the desert for 5 hours until she was found by Customs and Border Patrol.
Yet, Sofia was one of the lucky ones. Because of her young age, Sofia was released to the custody of her grandmother in the United States, rather than kept in detention while the Immigration Judge decided whether to grant Sofia asylum or deport her to Guatemala. Currently, while Sofia is attending school and working towards a better future, Human Rights USA is arguing before the immigration court to grant her asylum and protect her from the rape, abuse, and forced marriage that she faces in Guatemala.
If Sofia is given asylum, hope will be renewed for thousands of women that face forced marriage and abuse. As we work with her on her case, we hope that she will be able to become the nurse she plans to be and become an icon of hope for so many others.
Sofia’s case is still pending. Click here to stay updated on her story. Click here to donate now and help Sofia and many others attain freedom from forced marriage.
*These names have been changed to protect the privacy of the individual