Carolina and Ramon were together for seventeen years. They have four children together and until recently, lived together with Ramon’s parents.

During the course of their relationship, Ramon had not always been abusive. However, over the last three years Ramon started to emotionally terrorize Carolina and, recently, became physically violent.

In the spring of 2019, Ramon forcibly tried to have sex with Carolina. Carolina was in bed asleep with her youngest child, when Ramon came home intoxicated and began pulling her pants down. Carolina woke up and demanded that Ramon stop and telling him she did not want to have sex. Ramon kept pulling on Carolina’s pants until she was able to slip from his grasp. At that point Ramon turned on the lights and terrorized Carolina by yelling at her and refusing to let her sleep for hours. He threatened to throw her out of the house for refusing to have sex with him.

The next evening Ramon went to bed early from having had too many drinks. Carolina, still hurt from the night before went to sleep on the floor beside the bed. Ramon woke up in the middle of the night and began kicking Carolina for not having sex with him and not sleeping in the bed with him. Carolina ran out of the room and called the police. The police instructed Ramon to leave Carolina alone the rest of the day.

Carolina finally found the legal assistance she needed at Ayuda.

Carolina met with an attorney who she could speak to in her native language. Carolina’s Ayuda attorney explained the process of obtaining a civil protection order (“CPO”), requesting temporary custody, and temporary child support. Through persistence Carolina’s attorneys were able to get Ramon to consent to the entry of a CPO without admissions.

Ayuda’s social services program assisted Carolina in finding a new apartment and helped her open a separate Child Support case. She was able to obtain retroactive child support from when she first moved out, which included child care expenses. This allowed her to secure her independence from Ramon and not have him further entangled in her life.

 Carolina’s resilience and strength throughout her case is inspiring. In just a few months Carolina was able to secure her own apartment, organize regular childcare, attend court hearings, and maintain her full-time job.

Although there are many services available for survivors, it can be overwhelming to access them during significant life changes. The holistic nature of Ayuda’s services helped Carolina step-by-step.

Today, Carolina is able to financially support herself and is relieved to have escaped such a toxic environment. Carolina has expressed how lost she felt when Ramon’s parents would tell her his behavior is normal and she should just forgive him. However, having Ayuda at her side, reminded Carolina of her own self-worth and that she did not have to be complacent. She hopes to provide her children with a loving environment, so they don’t ever feel the need to remain in an unhealthy relationship.