In the fall of 2010, I did a story that grew out of the same reporting behind this blog (Unidentified Dead Common on the Border) for Cronkite News called Trapped in violence: Undocumented abuse victims face hurdles. The story explored how provisions in The Violence Against Women Act are designed to help undocumented women who are experiencing domestic violence, women who may be less likely to report or leave situations that are dangerous for themselves and their families because they are afraid of deportation and family seperation (especially if their abuser has legal status in the U.S.). Extra material from the story became a supplementary page, Undocumented Abuse.
Last summer I had the opportunity to propose a story for a Journalism Journalism Center for Children and Families project called Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety Net.
While now closed, Journalism Journalism Center for Children and Families archives are still active with great reporting resources “for news and inspiration about children, youth and families” including active feeds and newsletters from related sites and sources.
For the Lifelines project, I proposed returning to my 2010 report to include updates on VAWA (which went through a difficult renewal battle), deeper interviews with CPLC (Chicanos Por La Causa) shelter staff and more women’s stories.
The response was overwhelming: hundreds of photos and over 37 hours of on the record interviews, many on video, including 12 shelter staff members, 10 women staying at the shelter, 1 teenager, 1 woman who became a staff member after seeking shelter, four additional social workers and academics and one of the original four women I profiled in 2010. All of these sources were incredibly generous with their time, knowledge and personal stories. Along with the interviews they let me shadow them through case meetings, language and financial literacy classes, staff lunches, organized shelter activities, playground time with their children and several invited me into their homes.
The resulting JCCF story, Violencia Domestica / Domestic Violence, is both an important and fragementary part of these larger stories they shared, stories which I hope to keep following and developing, especially here, over the upcoming year.
• Violencia Domestica | Domestic Violence (Lifelines: Stories from the Human Safety Net on 1 November 2014) – a bilingual shelter helps immigrant women find freedom from fear.