Shortly after their marriage, Sabrin and her husband moved to the United States from Egypt. What was supposed to be a happy beginning, fueled by the American dream, quickly turned into a nightmare. Soon after their arrival, her husband began abusing her physically and mentally. The abuse involved physical contact, threats of deportation and homelessness. “He would throw me against the washer and dryer. My body was covered in bruises,” explains Sabrin.
After the births of their two children, her husband would threaten to send her back to Egypt and take her children away from her. Sabrin says, “I kept giving him chance after chance to stop, hoping he would change for the better. I didn’t want to see my family broken.” Sabrin called the police twice, but was fearful of her situation and felt she had no rights as an immigrant in the United States. Divorce was not acceptable in her culture and she feared for her children growing up in a “broken” home. She could not reach out to her community due to the shame and stigma which would be placed on her.
However, the abuse reached an intolerable level and she feared its impact on her two children. Sabrin was afraid her husband might go after them. She was afraid, too, of what would become of her children if something happened to her. Who would take care of them, nurture them and encourage them to lead healthy, violence-free adult lives themselves? After deciding to take them and go to a women’s shelter, her shelter provider told her about Tapestri. She was surprised to learn of such an organization, existing solely to help refugee and immigrant violence survivors living in similar situations. She called Tapestri for assistance and her advocate, who also spoke Arabic, addressed her in a very culturally sensitive way. At last, Sabrin could share her story, feel at ease by using her native language and have someone listen and not judge or label her. Her advocate educated her on her rights, created a personalized care plan and guided her through the process so she could regain her confidence, economic stability and self efficacy. Tapestri was able to provide a trained interpreter and all information was kept confidential. Sabrin was also connected to partnering agencies through which she was able to begin the process of obtaining her U-Visa, acquiring passports for her children and learning job skills so she could be independent and provide for herself and her children. With her U-Visa, passport and other proper immigration paperwork in hand, Sabrin and her children would be able to stay in the United States legally.
Sabrin is now working as an advocate herself at a women’s shelter. She saved her money, purchased a car and is now actively saving to purchase a home for herself and her two children. With the help of Tapestri and encouragement from her advocate, she has found the strength and confidence to make it on her own.