We know that being a victim of sexual violence is difficult, but being undocumented and being a victim of sexual violence is double the challenge since there are many more obstacles to overcome.
Being undocumented is not only living in fear, insecurity of tomorrow, limited resources, but also having that fear of reporting the injustices that happen to us with the police. Living in the shadows so we don’t draw attention to our life as an undocumented person, is something we live day by day, but what happens when we have been victims of sexual violence?
Over the years, Verity has seen the struggles our undocumented community has to go through when they have been victims of sexual violence such as:
- The Fear of Reporting — It is not that they do not want to cooperate or report what happened, but for the fear of putting all their information in the hands of the police and being discovered that they do not have a legal status especially in such a vulnerable time that they are going through at that moment.
- Lack of Resources — Sure, there are many resources for crime victims here in the United States, but what resources are there to help our undocumented community? Many of the resources for crime victims require legal status to be approved. Being a victim of a sexual assault requires time to take care of yourself, physically and mentally, time to cooperate with the investigation of the case. That is, many times, victims need to lose time from work to go to follow-up health care appointments, appointments to meet with the investigative team whose casework is being done. Losing time from work means a shorter check for the person’s needs. Many undocumented people do not have health coverage to track their care after their sexual assault, both physically and psychologically.
- Fear of Not Being Believed — The issue of sexual violence is something that is not talked about much in our undocumented and Latino community, since it is seen as taboo. Living in a country without legal status and reporting sexual assault, we see how the same community does not believe people who are victims of sexual violence. They blame you for reporting abuse just for profit.
There are many more things that our undocumented community goes through and these are examples of a few struggles. In Sonoma County and the state of California, there are resources and legal help that are available to our undocumented community that are trustworthy and safe to maintain your rights of confidentiality.
Verity is available to help our undocumented community, especially during those times when they need safe, confident, and bilingual help. If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence and need help / guidance on how to proceed, feel free to contact us. We have a bilingual 24/7 crisis line available to help you! You are not alone, we believe you and we are here to help you.