Too Scared to Report Sexual Abuse. The Fear: Deportation.

4/30/2017 The New York Times

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Flickr/Gabriela Camerotti

LOS ANGELES — Cristina’s husband had hit and threatened her repeatedly for years, she said, but it wasn’t until last year that she began to fear for the safety of her young children, too. Reluctantly, she reported him and filed a police report.

Cristina, an immigrant from Mexico who arrived in the United States as a teenager in the 1980s, began to apply for a special visa for victims of abuse that would set her on a path to citizenship and her own freedom. Then last month, she told her lawyer that she no longer wanted to apply. She was too fearful, she said, not of her husband, but of the government.

“I am scared they will find me,” Cristina, who lives in a suburb of Los Angeles, said in an interview, asking that her last name not be used.

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