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Abuse is not just physical battery: how our male client became victims of bad marriage problems

We have a male client we filed a VAWA Abuse Marriage Petition for in Illinois. Even though VAWA stands for Violence Against Women Act, it is a law that is applied to MEN as well when they, too, become victims of bad marriage problems. Abuse is not just physical battery. ‘Abuse’ is financial control, moral control, isolation of the victim from their friends and family. Verbal abuse includes constant belittling, convincing the victim that they are worthless, they will be deported, they are illegal and have no rights, convincing them that the abuser has ALL the rights.

We worked hard on proving to USCIS that our gentleman client’s US Citizen wife abused and mistreated him throughout the marriage. How did she abuse a grown man? She was constantly calling and checking where he was, she forced him to stop communicating with his family and would not let him make any new friends, she checked his phone and text messaging records, she constantly threatened to call police on him with a fake domestic violence complaint and get him deported. One time she hit him over the head HARD with a frying pan. Soon, he had to go to the hospital because he had headaches and vision problems and it turns out she caused him eye problems such as a tears in his retina, that he had the doctors repair. He was afraid to go to the police or get orders of protection.

But we got him a psychologist evaluation and painstakingly collected proof of abuse, and convinced USCIS he indeed was a victim of domestic violence even though he is male.

His VAWA was approved after about 2 years of processing. He had a local Green Card interview in Chicago, and we had a local attorney AMIGA (member of American immigration women attorneys network I am in) attend his interview. We prepared the client and the IL attorney both for this interview, sent the whole file to them both and remotely practiced all the questions and went over all the documents. The interview was very short and went smoothly. Now, our client has a 10-year green card and will be able to get US citizenship in 3 years.

This work is very rewarding. It’s hard, stressful and requires a lot of eye for detail. Dealing with men and women who are in abusive relationship is a special thing – we have to be their cheerleaders and convince them that they have a chance, to undo some of the damage their abusive spouse did upon them. It’s HARD, but we do it.

I write this so that you, the public, become aware that people could be suffering right near you somewhere, that men, too, can become victimized in abusive relationship, especially when their immigration status is unresolved. Reach out to someone you suspect is living with abuse and try to help.

Peace and love to you all.



TEL: 718-769-6352