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Westlake Legal Group > domestic violence

Robert Halfon: For years, I’ve urged that the Conservatives become a Workers Party. Now it is one.

Robert Halfon is MP for Harlow.

It feels like I’ve woken up from a dream. Not a White Christmas, but a sea of blue-collar, spanning the length and breadth of the country, on the electoral map. For many years as MP, I’ve been campaigning for us to be the “Workers’ Party” – the representatives of blue-collar men and women up and down the country. In Essex, we use the term, “white-van conservatism”.

It is extraordinary to think that this dream has been realised by the election of MPs from all over the country, from Bishop Auckland, to my own constituency of Harlow.

Of course, the narrative from the Corbynites is that their catastrophic performance is because of Brexit. But, if you look at long-term trends, Labour have been losing the vote of working people for a number of years. The Labour movement is seen as an enemy of aspiration. In my own constituency, the Labour vote has not veered from 30 to 38 percent since 2010. Having said that, the results this time around were remarkable.

We have a real chance to fundamentally change our Party for the better. As the Prime Minister said, many people have lent us their vote, and they won’t be so generous next time if we get it wrong.

The Conservative Party must take this opportunity to become the true Workers’ Party.

That means, first, being incredibly careful with our narrative and language, and ensuring that we’re seen as the party of the ladder of opportunity and the safety net.

We should be modest, humble and kind in all our dealings with the public. Real thought and care about our language must be taken at all times, but particularly when we face the media, to ensure that Tories don’t come over as heartless or lacking emotional intelligence. Too often, we’ve allowed ourselves to be seen as out of touch and not on the side of people who are struggling. Each of us has a role to play, individually, to change this perception.

Second, let us show that we Conservatives have a real passion for our public services and are just as proud of increased funding for the NHS – as we are of the necessary tax breaks for small businesses – which we know increases investment and employment opportunities.

Third, we have to be relentless about cutting the cost of living. Lowering taxes is a moral good. We must convey that it is not all about helping rich people in the city or tycoons. This means, as the Manifesto pledged, focusing on cutting taxes for the lower paid by continuing to reduce income tax and making increases to the National Living wage a priority.

But we shouldn’t just cut taxes for lower earners, we need to ensure they know about it. On wage slips, for example, the Treasury should set out exactly how much the Government is saving taxpayers. The wage slip should read: “Your tax bill would normally be £X, but the Conservative Government has discounted it to £Y, saving you £Z.”

A simple, practical mechanism to ensure that workers on lower incomes know that it is Conservatives that are cutting their tax bill.

So, too, should the fuel duty freeze continue – again, as mentioned by the Prime Minister in the campaign. More action needs to be taken to improve Universal Credit so that its purpose of eliminating the poverty trap finally becomes a reality.

Fourth, many working people in communities that have now voted Conservative are passionate about apprenticeship opportunities for their children. Our vocational and technical education reforms should be at the forefront of policy for our Education Secretary. Every single young person should have the offer of a high-quality apprenticeship – right through from Level 2, up to degree-level.  Conservatives should aim for 50 per cent of students to take up degree apprenticeships.

Conservatives must come good on school funding and continue to provide as much parental choice of schools as possible and do everything to improve standards of reading and numeracy. Skills, Standards, Social Justice and Support for the profession should be the four s’s mantra of our education policy.

Fifth, it is high time we deal with the lack of housing in this country. We have to be bold and build hundreds of thousands more houses, recognising that 90 percent of land is not yet built on. It cannot just be about schemes like Right to Buy and Help to Buy, great though they are, but also about real affordable housing that people can rent.

Sixth and finally, whatever happens, as well as being the Workers’ Party, Tories must be a movement for social justice, too. Millions of our countrymen and women struggle everyday, whether it is a parent waiting for 39 weeks for their child to be diagnosed with a mental health issue, or people living in ghetto-type social housing, or individuals being sucked into a spiral of dependency on addictive drugs. We should do more to combat abusive relationships and domestic violence, too.

Conservatives must be the Party for these people as much as those who are already climbing the ladder of opportunity. Our job is to bring people to the ladder, to help them climb up and be ready with a safety net should they fall. The Party that enables and strengthens social capital, as much as economic capital.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here are 12 ways to help.

Westlake Legal Group stop-domestic-violence October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Here are 12 ways to help. workshops Things to Do Features Things to Do Philanthropy mental health Health galas Education domestic violence awareness month domestic violence
© nito / stock.adobe.com

October is a time for local communities to come together and support one another, as it marks Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, one in four women and one in seven men over the age of 18 have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner, which has long-term affects on both the body and the mind. While the problem is a common one, it is rarely discussed openly in public. That’s why this October, Northern Virginia residents will come together to support survivors of domestic violence, including sexual assault, intimate partner violence and psychological and physical abuse. 

From formal galas to community walks, here’s how to raise awareness in the region.   

Fill your calendar with more meaningful events by subscribing to our Things to Do newsletter.

Support Teenage Victims of Sexual Assault: Dinner by Nascent Solutions
Sept. 28, 8 p.m.
Nascent Solutions is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing change in Africa through humanitarian and developmental efforts. This year, as part of the group’s “Girl Reach Initiative,” representatives are hosting a reception consisting of dinner, live entertainment and lectures from leaders around the world, all in support of survivors of sexual violence caught in the sociopolitical crisis in Cameroon. // Waterford at Springfield: 6715 Commerce St., Springfield; $100

Party for a Cause
Sept. 28, 9 p.m.-2 a.m.
At this evening event, Inca Social will be honoring survivors of domestic violence by raising money for local nonprofits that advocate for individuals affected by sexual assault and family abuse. Come out for a cocktail in support of a good cause. // Inca Social: 2670 Avenir Place, Vienna; donations encouraged

Rahma Gala
Oct. 4, 7-11 p.m.
This inaugural gala is meant to educate the Ethiopian Muslim community about domestic violence, and also celebrate the hard work of those who have committed to advocating on behalf of survivors. Be sure to don your finest attire and prepare for an evening of motivational speakers, prepared food and education. // Waterford at Springfield: 6715 Commerce St., Springfield; $50-$70

Family Abuse: What is it and What Can You Do About It?
Oct. 7, 6-9 p.m.
What exactly does family abuse look like? Has this happened to someone you know? At this special lecture, hosted by The Women’s Center in Vienna, you’ll learn to identify the signs and patterns of family abuse, as well as the proper ways to effectively handle situations of violence. Plus, a survivor will share her story and experiences with the group. // The Women’s Center: 127 Park St. NE, Room 32, Vienna; free

The Clothesline Project
Oct. 9, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
The Clothesline Project is a nationwide visual display of T-shirts showcasing the impact of domestic violence and sexual assault, primarily on college campuses. For one day only, come out to Northern Virginia Community College to read powerful, personal stories of survivors. // Northern Virginia Community College, Howsmon Hall: 6901 Sudley Road, Manassas; free

Personal Safety for Women Presentation
Oct. 8, 6-8 p.m.
Every October, members from the Fairfax County Police Department host a safety workshop to introduce women to self-protective options without bringing violence into the room. Topics discussed will include prevention strategies, ways to identify at-risk situations and methods of evaluating your own personal strengths. // West Springfield District Station: 6140 Rolling Road, West Springfield; free

2019 K9 Krawl 5K
Oct. 12, 9-11 a.m.
For the 13th year in a row, the Fairfax County Police Department is hosting a free walk to bring awareness to the link between domestic violence and animal cruelty. According to the Animal Legal Defense Fund, animal abusers are five times as likely to harm humans, too. This event will bring the community together for a walk with canines and humans alike, a pet costume contest, face painting, resource tables and so much more. // Fairfax County Public Safety Headquarters: 12099 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax; free 

The Struggle is Real: Pink and Purple Zumbanation
Oct. 19, 9 a.m.-noon
This month, bring awareness to the cause through discussion, physical exercise and overall mental healing at this morning event hosted by Naomi’s House, an organization dedicated to assisting women who have suffered from commercial sexual exploitation. Whether you choose to participate in the Zumba courses or simply want to seek out resources, the choice is yours. // The Osprey’s at Belmont Bay: 401 Belmont Bay Drive, Woodbridge; donations encouraged

Dolls Against Domestic Violence
Oct. 19, 2-5 p.m.
Join members of the Fredericksburg community for the second annual Dolls Against Domestic Violence event. While the event started with just a few survivors coming together for healing, it has since become an organized program featuring keynote speakers, breakout sessions and T-shirts from the Clothesline Project. // Salem Church Library Conference Area: 2607 Salem Church Road, Fredericksburg; free 

Break Through Summit & Fashion Show with Purple Runway
Oct. 20, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. & 5 p.m.
For the past five years, the organization Purple Runway has been pairing fashion and advocacy at an annual fashion show event to raise funds for survivors, thrivers and conquerors of domestic violence. In addition to the showcase featuring local designers and boutique vendors, the organization is hosting a summit throughout the day for survivors to come together and heal with workshops, lectures and engaging sessions. // Mercedes-Benz of Arlington: 585 N. Glebe Road, Arlington; $69-$89

CEO Training: Trauma, Violence and Abuse
Oct. 25, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
At the end of October, The Women’s Center will host a day-long event aiming to teach women and men alike about the cycle of violence, symptoms of trauma and skills needed when working with survivors of domestic abuse, violence and sexual assault. From hands-on, scenario-based workshops to talks by survivors and clinical experts, this event will leave you feeling informed and prepared to help. // Attain Training Room: 1600 Tysons Blvd., McLean; $25-$135

26th Annual Knock Out Abuse Gala
Nov. 7, 6:30 p.m.
Every year, locals and visitors alike travel to Washington, DC for the annual Knock Out Abuse Gala, which has raised more than $11 million to organizations with the mission of supporting survivors of domestic violence and their families. From the silent auction to the after-party, the entire evening is an affair to remember. // The Ritz-Carlton: 1150 22nd St. NW, Washington, DC; $750-$50,000  

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Ben Carson Defends His Position That ‘Big Hairy Men’ Identifying as Ladies Shouldn’t be Allowed to Stay at Women’s Shelters

Westlake Legal Group ap-manafort-carson-620x438 Ben Carson Defends His Position That ‘Big Hairy Men’ Identifying as Ladies Shouldn’t be Allowed to Stay at Women’s Shelters women's shelters Uncategorized u.s. housing and urban development transgender The Sexes Politics LGBT kamala harris Julian Castro Front Page Stories domestic violence democrats Culture Ben Carson Allow Media Exception

Donald Trump strategist Paul J. Manafort, left, chats with former presidential candidate Ben Carson as they head to a Trump for president reception at the Republican National Committee Spring Meeting, Thursday, April 21, 2016, in Hollywood, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

 

 

Ben Carson’s doubled down on his assertion that men identifying as women shouldn’t be staying at battered women’s shelters.

Last week, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary got slammed by Democrats for his reported statement during a private meeting that “transgender people should get the same rights as everyone else, but they don’t get to change things for everybody else.”

Purportedly, Dr. Ben also claimed women’s groups and shelter administrators said they don’t want “big, hairy men” staying there.

In response, some Dems called for Carson to be fired.

Evidently, they’re really into the whole “get rid of Republicans in office” thing.

As reported by The Daily Wire, Kamala Harris had this to say:

“Shameful. These derogatory comments by Secretary Carson are part of a long pattern that shows his disregard for the transgender community. It’s simply unacceptable.”

Julián Castro — who believes men can get pregnant, so long as the conception isn’t disrupted by racist weather — went after the doctor, too:

“19 Black trans women have been killed this year because comments like Ben Carson’s normalize violence against them. As HUD Secretary, I protected trans people, I didn’t denigrate them.”

But on Friday night, Ben told Tucker Carlson he never suggested people who identify as the opposite sex don’t have rights, just that they don’t have more rights than anyone else:

“I simply pointed out the fact that, you know, we have to have policies that take into consideration everybody’s rights. I say everybody has equal rights; nobody gets extra rights.”

Furthermore, as relayed by LifeSite News, he’s on the side of the women at the shelters:

“I talked about some of the women’s groups who have come to me, and I’ve had many in my office, and they say they are uncomfortable with the policy in existence, which says you must accept a person’s designation of their gender regardless of their physical characteristics. What we’ve decided to do, first of all we’ve upheld the 2012 equal access law; we have no intention of changing that, but in terms of that broad definition of gender being whatever you say it is, we said we’re going to leave that to the local jurisdictions.”

The brain surgeon’s in favor of letting the locals use their own brains:

“If you have a women’s shelter and you’ve been operating well, you get to decide how you’re going to run it, the federal government doesn’t need to be telling people who is a man and who is a woman. That’s a decision they can make by themselves.”

Ben’s received complaints from shelters about men, but no suggested fixes from those potentially dejected by his position:

“And I quoted a group that came to me, and they were very upset, and they said, you know, ‘A big hairy man came in here and he says he’s a woman, and that upsets us because many of us are trying to escape that.’ But the political correctness says, ‘You have to say what we want you to say,’ and that will destroy freedom of speech. And I’ve offered transgender groups the opportunity to let me know what their solution would be so that everybody’s rights are observed. I haven’t heard one peep.”

The world’s sure getting more complicated. Nowadays, if you open a women’s shelter, you can’t even get past step 1: establishing what a woman is.

If things had always been this way, I bet the YMCA never woulda got off the ground.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: herehere, and here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

The BBC Releases A Lesson Plan For 9-Year-Olds: There Are More Than 100 Genders. Disagree And Go To Jail

‘Cause We Can’t Have Politics In School: Varsity Cheerleaders Get Put On Probation For Posing With A Trump 2020 Sign

A Hit-Making Music Star Announces He’s No Longer A Man

Find all my RedState work here.

And please follow Alex Parker on Twitter and Facebook.

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The post Ben Carson Defends His Position That ‘Big Hairy Men’ Identifying as Ladies Shouldn’t be Allowed to Stay at Women’s Shelters appeared first on RedState.

Westlake Legal Group ap-manafort-carson-300x212 Ben Carson Defends His Position That ‘Big Hairy Men’ Identifying as Ladies Shouldn’t be Allowed to Stay at Women’s Shelters women's shelters Uncategorized u.s. housing and urban development transgender The Sexes Politics LGBT kamala harris Julian Castro Front Page Stories domestic violence democrats Culture Ben Carson Allow Media Exception   Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Women Are Fleeing Death at Home. The U.S. Wants to Keep Them Out.

JALAPA, Guatemala — They climbed the terraced hillside in single file, their machetes tapping the stones along the darkened footpath.

Gehovany Ramirez, 17, led his brother and another accomplice to his ex-girlfriend’s home. He struck the wooden door with his machete, sending splinters into the air.

His girlfriend, Lubia Sasvin Pérez, had left him a month earlier, fleeing his violent temper for her parents’ home here in southeast Guatemala. Five months pregnant, her belly hanging from her tiny 16-year-old frame, she feared losing the child to his rage.

Lubia and her mother slipped outside and begged him to leave, she said. They could smell the sour tang of alcohol on his breath. Unmoved, he raised the blade and struck her mother in the head, killing her.

Hearing a stifled scream, her father rushed outside. Lubia recalled watching in horror as the other men set upon him, splitting his face and leaving her parents splayed on the concrete floor.

For prosecutors, judges and even defense lawyers in Guatemala, the case exemplifies the national scourge of domestic violence, motivated by a deep-seated sense of ownership over women and their place in relationships.

But instead of facing the harsher penalties meant to stop such crimes in Guatemala, Gehovany received only four years in prison, a short sentence even by the country’s lenient standard for minors. More than three years later, now 21, he will be released next spring, perhaps sooner.

And far from being kept from the family he tore apart, under Guatemalan law Gehovany has the right to visit his son upon release, according to legal officials in Guatemala.

The prospect of his return shook the family so thoroughly that Lubia’s father, who survived the attack, sold their home and used the money to pay a smuggler to reach the United States. Now living outside of San Francisco, he is pinning his hopes on winning asylum to safeguard his family. They all are.

But that seems more distant than ever. Two extraordinary legal decisions by the Trump administration have struck at the core of asylum claims rooted in domestic violence or threats against families like Lubia’s — not only casting doubt on their case, but almost certainly on thousands of others as well, immigration lawyers say.

“How can this be justice?” Lubia said before the family fled, sitting under the portico where her mother was killed. “All I did was leave him for beating me and he took my mother from us.”

“What kind of system protects him, and not me?” she said, gathering her son in her lap.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 17guatemala98-articleLarge Women Are Fleeing Death at Home. The U.S. Wants to Keep Them Out. Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of
Lubia is hoping for asylum in the United States, but her case faces significant obstacles under the Trump administration.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Their case offers a glimpse into the staggering number of Central Americans fleeing violence and dysfunction — and the dogged fight the Trump administration is waging to keep them out.

Across Latin America, a murder epidemic is underway. Most years, more than 100,000 people are killed, largely young men on the periphery of broken societies, where gangs and cartels sometimes take the place of the state.

The turmoil has forced millions to flee the region and seek refuge in the United States, where they confront a system strained by record demand and a bitter fight over whether to accept them.

But violence against women, and domestic violence in particular, is a powerful and often overlooked factor in the migration crisis. Latin America and the Caribbean are home to 14 of the 25 deadliest nations in the world for women, according to available data collected by the Small Arms Survey, which tracks violence globally.

And Central America, the region where most of those seeking asylum in the United States are fleeing, is at the heart of the crisis.

Here in Guatemala, the homicide rate for women is more than three times the global average. In El Salvador, it is nearly six times. In Honduras, it is one of the highest in the world — almost 12 times the global average.

Image

Friends and family mourning during the funeral procession for Cristina Yulisa Godínez, 18, in Guatemala City. Ms. Godínez was murdered in her home in May, where she was found hanging by her neck from the ceiling, her hands bound with blue rope. CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times
Image

Ms. Godínez was killed in front of her 3-year-old son and her daughter, who was a few months old. Her son told the police that a man came in, tied her up and hanged her from the ceiling.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

In the most violent pockets of Central America, the United Nations says, the danger is like living in a war zone.

“Despite the risk associated with migration, it is still lower than the risk of being killed at home,” said Angela Me, the chief of research and trend analysis at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The issue is so central to migration that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eager to advance the Trump administration’s priority of closing the southern border to migrants, issued a decision last year to try to halt victims of domestic violence, among other crimes, from seeking asylum.

To win asylum in the United States, applicants must show specific grounds for their persecution back home, like their race, religion, political affiliation or membership in a particular social group. Lawyers have sometimes pushed successfully for women to qualify as a social group because of the overwhelming violence they face, citing a 2014 case in which a Guatemalan woman fleeing domestic violence was found to be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States.

But Mr. Sessions overruled that precedent, questioning whether women — in particular, women fleeing domestic violence — can be members of a social group. The decision challenged what had become common practice in asylum courts.

Then, last month, the new attorney general, William P. Barr, went further. Breaking with decades of precedent, he issued a decision making it harder for families, like Lubia’s, to qualify as social groups also.

Violence against women in the region is so prevalent that 18 countries have passed laws to protect them, creating a class of homicide known as femicide, which adds tougher penalties and greater law enforcement attention to the issue.

And yet, despite that broad effort, the new laws have failed to reduce the killings of girls and women in the region, the United Nations says.

That reflects how deep the gender gap runs. For the new laws to make a difference, experts say, they must go far beyond punishment to change education, political discourse, social norms and basic family dynamics.

Though gangs and cartels in the region play a role in the violence, most women are killed by lovers, family members, husbands or partners — men angered by women acting independently, enraged by jealousy or, like Gehovany, driven by a deeply ingrained sense of control over women’s lives.

“Men end up thinking they can dispose of women as they wish,” said Adriana Quiñones, the United Nations Women’s country representative in Guatemala.

A vast majority of female homicides in the region are never solved. In Guatemala, only about 6 percent result in convictions, researchers say. And in the rare occasions when they do, as in Lubia’s case, they are not always prosecuted vigorously.

Even defense attorneys believe Gehovany should have been charged with femicide, which would have put him in prison a couple of years longer. The fact that he was not, some Guatemalan officials acknowledge, underscores the many ways in which the nation’s legal system, even when set up to protect women, continues to fail them.

In the courtroom, Lubia’s father, Romeo de Jesus Sasvin Dominguez, spoke up just once.

It didn’t make sense, he told the judge, shaking his head. A long white scar ran over the bridge of his nose, a relic of the attack. How could the laws of Guatemala favor the man who killed his wife, who hurt his daughter?

“We had a life together,” he told the judge, nearly in tears. “And he came and took that away from us just because my daughter didn’t want to be in an abusive relationship.”

“I just don’t understand,” he said.

Image

Though Jalapa has a lower homicide rate than other areas of Guatemala, the region is still very dangerous for women.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Lubia’s son crawled with purpose, clutching a toy truck he had just relieved of its back wheel.

The family watched in grateful distraction. Years after the murder, they still lived like prisoners, trapped between mourning and fear. A rust-colored stain blotted the floor where Lubia’s mother died. The dimpled doorjamb, hacked by the machete, had not been repaired. Lubia’s three younger sisters refused even to set foot in the bedroom where they hid during the attack.

Santiago Ramirez, Gehovany’s brother, never went to prison, spared because of a mental illness. Neighbors often saw him walking the village streets.

Soon, Gehovany would be, too. The family worried the men would come back, to finish what they started.

“There’s not much we can do,” said Mr. Sasvin Dominguez, sending Lubia’s son on his way with the toy truck. “We don’t have the law in our hands.”

He had no money to move and owned nothing but the house, which the family clung to but could hardly bear. His two sons lived in the United States and had families of their own to support. He hadn’t seen them in years.

“I’m raising my daughters on my own now, four of them,” he said.

He woke each morning at 3 a.m., hiking into the mountains to work as a farm hand. The girls, whose high cheekbones and raven-colored hair resembled their mother’s, no longer went to school. With the loss of her income from selling knickknacks on the street, they couldn’t afford to pay for it.

His youngest daughter especially loved classes: the routine, the books, the chance to escape her circumscribed world. But even she had resigned herself to voluntary confinement. The stares and whispers of classmates — and the teasing of especially cruel ones — had grown unbearable. In town, some residents openly blamed Lubia for what happened. Even her own aunts did.

“There’s no justice here,” said Lubia, who added that she wanted to share her story with the public for that very reason. Her father did, too.

In her area, Jalapa, a region of rippled hills, rutted roads and a cowboy culture, men go around on horseback with holstered pistols, their faces shaded by wide-brimmed hats. Though relatively peaceful for Guatemala, with a lower homicide rate than most areas, it is very dangerous for women.

Insulated from Guatemala’s larger cities, Jalapa is a concentrated version of the gender inequality that fuels the femicide crisis, experts say.

“It’s stark,” said Mynor Carrera, who served as dean of the Jalapa campus of the nation’s largest university for 25 years. “The woman is treated often like a child in the home. And violence against them is accepted.”

Domestic abuse is the most common crime here. Of the several dozen complaints the Jalapa authorities receive each week, about half involve violence against women.

“It’s like our daily bread,” said Dora Elizabeth Monson, the prosecutor for women’s issues in Jalapa. “Women receive it morning, afternoon and night.”

At the courthouse, Judge Eduardo Alfonso Campos Paz maintains a docket filled with such cases. The most striking part, he said, is that most men struggle to understand what they’ve done wrong.

The problem is not easily erased by legislation or enforcement, he said, because of a mind-set ingrained in boys early on and reinforced throughout their lives.

“When I was born, my mom or sister brought me food and drink,” the judge said. “My sister cleaned up after me and washed my clothes. If I wanted water, she would get up from wherever she was and get it for me.”

“We are molded to be served, and when that isn’t accomplished, the violence begins,” he said.

Image

A beauty pageant for girls in the Jalapa region. From an early age, officials say, girls are expected to be subservient. CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times
Image

The police investigating the crime scene of a suspected killing of a woman in Guatemala City.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Across Guatemala, complaints of domestic violence have skyrocketed as more women come forward to report abuse. Every week, it seems, a new, gruesome case emerges in newspapers, of a woman tortured, mutilated or dehumanized. It is an echo of the systematic rape and torture women endured during the nation’s 36-year civil war, which left an indelible mark on Guatemalan society.

But today, the countries with the highest rates of femicide in the region, like Guatemala, also suffer the highest homicide rates overall — often leaving the killing of women overlooked or dismissed as private domestic matters, with few national implications.

The result is more disparity. While murders in Guatemala have dropped remarkably over the last decade, there is a notable difference by gender: Homicides of men have fallen by 57 percent, while killings of women have declined more slowly, by about 39 percent, according to government data.

“The policy is to investigate violence that has more political interest,” said Jorge Granados, the head of the science and technology department at Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences. “The public policy is simply not focused on the murder of women.”

The femicide law required every region in the nation to install a specialized court focused on violence against women. But more than a decade later, only 13 of 22 are in operation.

“The abuse usually happens in the home, in a private context,” said Evelyn Espinoza, the coordinator of the Observatory on Violence at Diálogos, a Guatemalan research group. “And the state doesn’t involve itself in the home.”

In Lubia’s case, she fell in love with Gehovany in the fast, unstoppable way that teenagers do. By the time they moved in together, she was already pregnant.

But Gehovany’s drinking, abuse and stultifying expectations quickly became clear. He wanted her home at all times, even when he was out, she said. He told her not to visit her family.

She knew Gehovany would consider her leaving a betrayal, especially being pregnant with his child. She knew society might, too. But she had to go, for the baby’s sake, and was relieved to be free of him.

Until the night of Nov. 1, 2015, at around 9 p.m., when he came to reclaim her.

The New York Times tried to reach Gehovany, who fled after the killing and later turned himself in. But because he was a minor at the time of the murder, officials said, they could not arrange an interview or comment on the case.

His oldest brother, Robert Ramirez, argued that Gehovany had acted in self-defense and killed Lubia’s mother accidentally.

Still, Mr. Ramirez defended his brother’s decision to confront Lubia’s family that night, citing a widely held view of a woman’s place in Jalapa.

“He was right to go back and try to claim her,” he said. “She shouldn’t have left him.”

He looked toward his own house, etched into a clay hillside, a thread of smoke from a small fire curling through the doorway.

“I’d never allow my wife to leave me,” he said.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez woke suddenly, startled by an idea.

He rushed to town in the dark, insects thrumming, a dense fog filling the mountains. In a single day, it was all arranged. He would sell his home and use the proceeds to flee to the United States.

The $6,500 was enough to buy passage for him and his youngest daughter, then 12. Traveling with a young child was cheaper, and often meant better treatment by American officials. At least, that’s what the smuggler said.

He hoped to reach his sons in California. With luck, he could find work, support the girls back home — and get asylum for the entire family.

The Dominguez Family’s Journey





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Westlake Legal Group journey-Artboard_1 Women Are Fleeing Death at Home. The U.S. Wants to Keep Them Out. Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of

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Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Mexico

Guatemala

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

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San

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Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Mexico

Guatemala

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

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UNITED STATES

Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Guatemala

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala


Satellite imagery from NASA

By The New York Times

A week later, in October of last year, he left with his daughter. A guide crossed them into Mexico. Soon, they reached the side of a highway, where a container truck sat idling. Inside, men, women and children were packed tight, with hardly enough space to move.

A dense heat filled the space, the sun baking the metal box as bodies brushed against one another. They spent nearly three days in the container before the first stop, he said.

The days went by in a blur, a log of images snatched from the fog of exhaustion. An open hangar, grumbling with trucks. Rolling desert, dotted by cactus. Sunlight glaring off the metal siding of a safe house.

They rode in at least five container trucks, as best they can remember. Hunger chased them. Some days, they got half an apple. On others, they got rice and beans. Sometimes they got nothing.

One night, they saw a man beaten unconscious for talking after the smugglers told him to be quiet.

“I remember that moment,” said his daughter, whose name is being withheld because she is still a minor. Her hands twisted at the memory. “I felt terrified,” she said.

Days later, starved for food, water and fresh air, she passed out in a container crammed with more than 200 migrants, her father holding her, fanning her with whatever documents he had.

In early November, they arrived in the Mexican border town of Reynosa, and were spirited into a safe house. After weeks on the road, they were getting close.

That day, the smugglers called one of Mr. Sasvin Dominguez’s sons, demanding an extra $400 to ferry the two across the river to Texas. If not, they would be tossed out of the safe house, left to the seething violence of Reynosa.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez’s son sent the money. Last-minute extortions have come to be expected. A day later, they boarded a raft and entered the United States.

They wandered the dense brush before they stumbled upon a border patrol truck and turned themselves in.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez said he and his daughter spent four days in Texas, in a facility with no windows. The fluorescent glare of the overhead lights continued day and night, troubling their sleep. It was cold. The migrants called it the icebox.

When they were released in November, Mr. Sasvin Dominguez was fitted with an ankle bracelet and instructed to check in with the immigration authorities in San Francisco, where he could begin the long process of applying for asylum.

His son bought them bus tickets and met them at the station. It was the first time they had seen each other in seven years.

On a sunny day in June, Mr. Sasvin Dominguez shuffled to a park, his daughter riding in front, hunched over the bars of a pink bicycle meant for a girl half her age. Behind him, his son and grandson tottered along, hand in hand.

They traversed a quintessential American landscape — bungalows perched on tidy green yards, wide sidewalks shaded by soaring live oaks.

He and his daughter live in the family’s modest one-bedroom apartment, now bursting at the seams. The trappings of suburban life fill the backyard: toolboxes, wheelbarrows, recycling bins.

But Mr. Sasvin Dominguez remains suspended in the sadness and fear he left behind in Guatemala. His other daughters are still trapped, and there is no money to move them.

Besides, he says, the journey north, even if they could afford it, is far too dangerous for three young women and a toddler to take on their own. His only hope, he says, is asylum.

That could take years, he is told, if it happens at all. A heavy backlog of cases is gumming up the courts. He does not even have a date yet for his first hearing.

Image

Romeo de Jesus Sasvin Dominguez in the Bay Area, where he is seeking asylum for his family.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times

In the meantime, he lives in self-imposed austerity, scared to embrace his new life, as if doing so might belittle the danger his daughters still face.

In the park, families cooked out and blasted reggaeton. His daughter play-fought with her nephew, who never tired, no matter how many handfuls of grass she stuffed down his shirt, or how many times he retreated in tears.

She has found a better rhythm in their new life. In June, she finished sixth grade at the local school, which she loves. Her older brother keeps the graduation certificate on the small dining table.

She has dyed the tips of her hair purple, a style she’s grown fond of. Her face often falls back into the wide smile of the past, when her mother enrolled her in local beauty contests.

But she grows stormy and unpredictable at times, refusing to speak. She misses her mother. Her sisters, too.

Stuck in Guatemala, Lubia and her two other sisters moved into a small apartment, where they share a single bed. A portrait of their mother hangs on the wall.

They all work now, making tortillas in town. But they go straight home after, to avoid being spotted. Not long ago, Lubia ran into Gehovany’s mother.

Life for the sisters is measured in micro-improvements, pockets of air in the stifling fear. They are scarcely more than children themselves, raising children alone. Lubia’s 18-year-old sister now has an infant of her own.

They sometimes visit their mother’s grave, a green concrete box surrounded by paddle-shaped cactus.

“We are left here with nothing,” Lubia said.

She still bears the stigma of what happened. Neighbors, men and women alike, continue to blame her for her mother’s death. It doesn’t surprise her anymore. Now 20, she says she understands that women almost always bear the blame for problems at home.

She worries about the world her son will grow up in, what she can teach him and what he will ultimately come to believe. One day, she will tell him about his father, she says, but not now, or anytime soon.

By then, she hopes to be in the United States, free of the poverty, violence and suffocating confines for women in Guatemala.

“Here in Guatemala,” she said, “justice only exists in the law. Not in reality.”

Meridith Kohut in Jalapa, Guatemala and Paulina Villegas in Mexico City contributed reporting.

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Her Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Mother. Will the U.S. Offer a Refuge?

JALAPA, Guatemala — They climbed the terraced hillside in single file, their machetes tapping the stones along the darkened footpath.

Gehovany Ramirez, 17, led his brother and another accomplice to his ex-girlfriend’s home. He struck the wooden door with his machete, sending splinters into the air.

His girlfriend, Lubia Sasvin Pérez, had left him a month earlier, fleeing his violent temper for her parents’ home here in southeast Guatemala. Five months pregnant, her belly hanging from her tiny 16-year-old frame, she feared losing the child to his rage.

Lubia and her mother slipped outside and begged him to leave, she said. They could smell the sour tang of alcohol on his breath. Unmoved, he raised the blade and struck her mother in the head, killing her.

Hearing a stifled scream, her father rushed outside. Lubia recalled watching in horror as the other men set upon him, splitting his face and leaving her parents splayed on the concrete floor.

For prosecutors, judges and even defense lawyers in Guatemala, the case exemplifies the national scourge of domestic violence, motivated by a deep-seated sense of ownership over women and their place in relationships.

But instead of facing the harsher penalties meant to stop such crimes in Guatemala, Gehovany received only four years in prison, a short sentence even by the country’s lenient standard for minors. More than three years later, now 21, he will be released next spring, perhaps sooner.

And far from being kept from the family he tore apart, under Guatemalan law Gehovany has the right to visit his son upon release, according to legal officials in Guatemala.

The prospect of his return shook the family so thoroughly that Lubia’s father, who survived the attack, sold their home and used the money to pay a smuggler to reach the United States. Now living outside of San Francisco, he is pinning his hopes on winning asylum to safeguard his family. They all are.

But that seems more distant than ever. Two extraordinary legal decisions by the Trump administration have struck at the core of asylum claims rooted in domestic violence or threats against families like Lubia’s — not only casting doubt on their case, but almost certainly on thousands of others as well, immigration lawyers say.

“How can this be justice?” Lubia said before the family fled, sitting under the portico where her mother was killed. “All I did was leave him for beating me and he took my mother from us.”

“What kind of system protects him, and not me?” she said, gathering her son in her lap.

ImageWestlake Legal Group 17guatemala98-articleLarge Her Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Mother. Will the U.S. Offer a Refuge? Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of

Lubia is hoping for asylum in the United States, but her case faces significant obstacles under the Trump administration.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Their case offers a glimpse into the staggering number of Central Americans fleeing violence and dysfunction — and the dogged fight the Trump administration is waging to keep them out.

Across Latin America, a murder epidemic is underway. Most years, more than 100,000 people are killed, largely young men on the periphery of broken societies, where gangs and cartels sometimes take the place of the state.

The turmoil has forced millions to flee the region and seek refuge in the United States, where they confront a system strained by record demand and a bitter fight over whether to accept them.

But violence against women, and domestic violence in particular, is a powerful and often overlooked factor in the migration crisis. Latin America and the Caribbean are home to 14 of the 25 deadliest nations in the world for women, according to available data collected by the Small Arms Survey, which tracks violence globally.

And Central America, the region where most of those seeking asylum in the United States are fleeing, is at the heart of the crisis.

Here in Guatemala, the homicide rate for women is more than three times the global average. In El Salvador, it is nearly six times. In Honduras, it is one of the highest in the world — almost 12 times the global average.

Friends and family mourning during the funeral procession for Cristina Yulisa Godínez, 18, in Guatemala City. Ms. Godínez was murdered in her home in May, where she was found hanging by her neck from the ceiling, her hands bound with blue rope. CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times
Ms. Godínez was killed in front of her 3-year-old son and her daughter, who was a few months old. Her son told the police that a man came in, tied her up and hanged her from the ceiling.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

In the most violent pockets of Central America, the United Nations says, the danger is like living in a war zone.

“Despite the risk associated with migration, it is still lower than the risk of being killed at home,” said Angela Me, the chief of research and trend analysis at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

The issue is so central to migration that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, eager to advance the Trump administration’s priority of closing the southern border to migrants, issued a decision last year to try to halt victims of domestic violence, among other crimes, from seeking asylum.

To win asylum in the United States, applicants must show specific grounds for their persecution back home, like their race, religion, political affiliation or membership in a particular social group. Lawyers have sometimes pushed successfully for women to qualify as a social group because of the overwhelming violence they face, citing a 2014 case in which a Guatemalan woman fleeing domestic violence was found to be eligible to apply for asylum in the United States.

But Mr. Sessions overruled that precedent, questioning whether women — in particular, women fleeing domestic violence — can be members of a social group. The decision challenged what had become common practice in asylum courts.

Then, last month, the new attorney general, William P. Barr, went further. Breaking with decades of precedent, he issued a decision making it harder for families, like Lubia’s, to qualify as social groups also.

Violence against women in the region is so prevalent that 18 countries have passed laws to protect them, creating a class of homicide known as femicide, which adds tougher penalties and greater law enforcement attention to the issue.

And yet, despite that broad effort, the new laws have failed to reduce the killings of girls and women in the region, the United Nations says.

That reflects how deep the gender gap runs. For the new laws to make a difference, experts say, they must go far beyond punishment to change education, political discourse, social norms and basic family dynamics.

Though gangs and cartels in the region play a role in the violence, most women are killed by lovers, family members, husbands or partners — men angered by women acting independently, enraged by jealousy or, like Gehovany, driven by a deeply ingrained sense of control over women’s lives.

“Men end up thinking they can dispose of women as they wish,” said Adriana Quiñones, the United Nations Women’s country representative in Guatemala.

A vast majority of female homicides in the region are never solved. In Guatemala, only about 6 percent result in convictions, researchers say. And in the rare occasions when they do, as in Lubia’s case, they are not always prosecuted vigorously.

Even defense attorneys believe Gehovany should have been charged with femicide, which would have put him in prison a couple of years longer. The fact that he was not, some Guatemalan officials acknowledge, underscores the many ways in which the nation’s legal system, even when set up to protect women, continues to fail them.

In the courtroom, Lubia’s father, Romeo de Jesus Sasvin Dominguez, spoke up just once.

It didn’t make sense, he told the judge, shaking his head. A long white scar ran over the bridge of his nose, a relic of the attack. How could the laws of Guatemala favor the man who killed his wife, who hurt his daughter?

“We had a life together,” he told the judge, nearly in tears. “And he came and took that away from us just because my daughter didn’t want to be in an abusive relationship.”

“I just don’t understand,” he said.

Though Jalapa has a lower homicide rate than other areas of Guatemala, the region is still very dangerous for women.CreditMeridith Kohut for The New York Times

Lubia’s son crawled with purpose, clutching a toy truck he had just relieved of its back wheel.

The family watched in grateful distraction. Years after the murder, they still lived like prisoners, trapped between mourning and fear. A rust-colored stain blotted the floor where Lubia’s mother died. The dimpled doorjamb, hacked by the machete, had not been repaired. Lubia’s three younger sisters refused even to set foot in the bedroom where they hid during the attack.

Santiago Ramirez, Gehovany’s brother, never went to prison, spared because of a mental illness. Neighbors often saw him walking the village streets.

Soon, Gehovany would be, too. The family worried the men would come back, to finish what they started.

“There’s not much we can do,” said Mr. Sasvin Dominguez, sending Lubia’s son on his way with the toy truck. “We don’t have the law in our hands.”

He had no money to move and owned nothing but the house, which the family clung to but could hardly bear. His two sons lived in the United States and had families of their own to support. He hadn’t seen them in years.

“I’m raising my daughters on my own now, four of them,” he said.

He woke each morning at 3 a.m., hiking into the mountains to work as a farm hand. The girls, whose high cheekbones and raven-colored hair resembled their mother’s, no longer went to school. With the loss of her income from selling knickknacks on the street, they couldn’t afford to pay for it.

His youngest daughter especially loved classes: the routine, the books, the chance to escape her circumscribed world. But even she had resigned herself to voluntary confinement. The stares and whispers of classmates — and the teasing of especially cruel ones — had grown unbearable. In town, some residents openly blamed Lubia for what happened. Even her own aunts did.

“There’s no justice here,” said Lubia, who added that she wanted to share her story with the public for that very reason. Her father did, too.

In her area, Jalapa, a region of rippled hills, rutted roads and a cowboy culture, men go around on horseback with holstered pistols, their faces shaded by wide-brimmed hats. Though relatively peaceful for Guatemala, with a lower homicide rate than most areas, it is very dangerous for women.

Insulated from Guatemala’s larger cities, Jalapa is a concentrated version of the gender inequality that fuels the femicide crisis, experts say.

“It’s stark,” said Mynor Carrera, who served as dean of the Jalapa campus of the nation’s largest university for 25 years. “The woman is treated often like a child in the home. And violence against them is accepted.”

Domestic abuse is the most common crime here. Of the several dozen complaints the Jalapa authorities receive each week, about half involve violence against women.

“It’s like our daily bread,” said Dora Elizabeth Monson, the prosecutor for women’s issues in Jalapa. “Women receive it morning, afternoon and night.”

At the courthouse, Judge Eduardo Alfonso Campos Paz maintains a docket filled with such cases. The most striking part, he said, is that most men struggle to understand what they’ve done wrong.

The problem is not easily erased by legislation or enforcement, he said, because of a mind-set ingrained in boys early on and reinforced throughout their lives.

“When I was born, my mom or sister brought me food and drink,” the judge said. “My sister cleaned up after me and washed my clothes. If I wanted water, she would get up from wherever she was and get it for me.”

“We are molded to be served, and when that isn’t accomplished, the violence begins,” he said.

A beauty pageant for girls in the Jalapa region. From an early age, officials say, girls are expected to be subservient. CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times
The police investigating the crime scene of a suspected killing of a woman in Guatemala City.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times

Across Guatemala, complaints of domestic violence have skyrocketed as more women come forward to report abuse. Every week, it seems, a new, gruesome case emerges in newspapers, of a woman tortured, mutilated or dehumanized. It is an echo of the systematic rape and torture women endured during the nation’s 36-year civil war, which left an indelible mark on Guatemalan society.

But today, the countries with the highest rates of femicide in the region, like Guatemala, also suffer the highest homicide rates overall — often leaving the killing of women overlooked or dismissed as private domestic matters, with few national implications.

The result is more disparity. While murders in Guatemala have dropped remarkably over the last decade, there is a notable difference by gender: Homicides of men have fallen by 57 percent, while killings of women have declined more slowly, by about 39 percent, according to government data.

“The policy is to investigate violence that has more political interest,” said Jorge Granados, the head of the science and technology department at Guatemala’s National Institute of Forensic Sciences. “The public policy is simply not focused on the murder of women.”

The femicide law required every region in the nation to install a specialized court focused on violence against women. But more than a decade later, only 13 of 22 are in operation.

“The abuse usually happens in the home, in a private context,” said Evelyn Espinoza, the coordinator of the Observatory on Violence at Diálogos, a Guatemalan research group. “And the state doesn’t involve itself in the home.”

In Lubia’s case, she fell in love with Gehovany in the fast, unstoppable way that teenagers do. By the time they moved in together, she was already pregnant.

But Gehovany’s drinking, abuse and stultifying expectations quickly became clear. He wanted her home at all times, even when he was out, she said. He told her not to visit her family.

She knew Gehovany would consider her leaving a betrayal, especially being pregnant with his child. She knew society might, too. But she had to go, for the baby’s sake, and was relieved to be free of him.

Until the night of Nov. 1, 2015, at around 9 p.m., when he came to reclaim her.

The New York Times tried to reach Gehovany, who fled after the killing and later turned himself in. But because he was a minor at the time of the murder, officials said, they could not arrange an interview or comment on the case.

His oldest brother, Robert Ramirez, argued that Gehovany had acted in self-defense and killed Lubia’s mother accidentally.

Still, Mr. Ramirez defended his brother’s decision to confront Lubia’s family that night, citing a widely held view of a woman’s place in Jalapa.

“He was right to go back and try to claim her,” he said. “She shouldn’t have left him.”

He looked toward his own house, etched into a clay hillside, a thread of smoke from a small fire curling through the doorway.

“I’d never allow my wife to leave me,” he said.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez woke suddenly, startled by an idea.

He rushed to town in the dark, insects thrumming, a dense fog filling the mountains. In a single day, it was all arranged. He would sell his home and use the proceeds to flee to the United States.

The $6,500 was enough to buy passage for him and his youngest daughter, then 12. Traveling with a young child was cheaper, and often meant better treatment by American officials. At least, that’s what the smuggler said.

He hoped to reach his sons in California. With luck, he could find work, support the girls back home — and get asylum for the entire family.

The Dominguez Family’s Journey

Westlake Legal Group journey-Artboard_1 Her Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Mother. Will the U.S. Offer a Refuge? Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of

San

Francisco

UNITED STATES

Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

Westlake Legal Group journey-Artboard_4 Her Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Mother. Will the U.S. Offer a Refuge? Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of

San

Francisco

UNITED STATES

Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

Westlake Legal Group journey-Artboard_5 Her Ex-Boyfriend Killed Her Mother. Will the U.S. Offer a Refuge? Women and Girls United States Politics and Government United States Politics and Government Murders, Attempted Murders and Homicides Latin America Immigration and Emigration Illegal Immigration Guatemala domestic violence Asylum, Right of

San

Francisco

UNITED STATES

Weslaco, Texas

Reynosa, Mexico

Querétaro, Mexico

Tapachula, Mexico

Ciudad Tecún Umán, Guatemala

Satellite imagery from NASA

By The New York Times

A week later, in October of last year, he left with his daughter. A guide crossed them into Mexico. Soon, they reached the side of a highway, where a container truck sat idling. Inside, men, women and children were packed tight, with hardly enough space to move.

A dense heat filled the space, the sun baking the metal box as bodies brushed against one another. They spent nearly three days in the container before the first stop, he said.

The days went by in a blur, a log of images snatched from the fog of exhaustion. An open hangar, grumbling with trucks. Rolling desert, dotted by cactus. Sunlight glaring off the metal siding of a safe house.

They rode in at least five container trucks, as best they can remember. Hunger chased them. Some days, they got half an apple. On others, they got rice and beans. Sometimes they got nothing.

One night, they saw a man beaten unconscious for talking after the smugglers told him to be quiet.

“I remember that moment,” said his daughter, whose name is being withheld because she is still a minor. Her hands twisted at the memory. “I felt terrified,” she said.

Days later, starved for food, water and fresh air, she passed out in a container crammed with more than 200 migrants, her father holding her, fanning her with whatever documents he had.

In early November, they arrived in the Mexican border town of Reynosa, and were spirited into a safe house. After weeks on the road, they were getting close.

That day, the smugglers called one of Mr. Sasvin Dominguez’s sons, demanding an extra $400 to ferry the two across the river to Texas. If not, they would be tossed out of the safe house, left to the seething violence of Reynosa.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez’s son sent the money. Last-minute extortions have come to be expected. A day later, they boarded a raft and entered the United States.

They wandered the dense brush before they stumbled upon a border patrol truck and turned themselves in.

Mr. Sasvin Dominguez said he and his daughter spent four days in Texas, in a facility with no windows. The fluorescent glare of the overhead lights continued day and night, troubling their sleep. It was cold. The migrants called it the icebox.

When they were released in November, Mr. Sasvin Dominguez was fitted with an ankle bracelet and instructed to check in with the immigration authorities in San Francisco, where he could begin the long process of applying for asylum.

His son bought them bus tickets and met them at the station. It was the first time they had seen each other in seven years.

On a sunny day in June, Mr. Sasvin Dominguez shuffled to a park, his daughter riding in front, hunched over the bars of a pink bicycle meant for a girl half her age. Behind him, his son and grandson tottered along, hand in hand.

They traversed a quintessential American landscape — bungalows perched on tidy green yards, wide sidewalks shaded by soaring live oaks.

He and his daughter live in the family’s modest one-bedroom apartment, now bursting at the seams. The trappings of suburban life fill the backyard: toolboxes, wheelbarrows, recycling bins.

But Mr. Sasvin Dominguez remains suspended in the sadness and fear he left behind in Guatemala. His other daughters are still trapped, and there is no money to move them.

Besides, he says, the journey north, even if they could afford it, is far too dangerous for three young women and a toddler to take on their own. His only hope, he says, is asylum.

That could take years, he is told, if it happens at all. A heavy backlog of cases is gumming up the courts. He does not even have a date yet for his first hearing.

Romeo de Jesus Sasvin Dominguez in the Bay Area, where he is seeking asylum for his family.CreditDaniel Berehulak for The New York Times

In the meantime, he lives in self-imposed austerity, scared to embrace his new life, as if doing so might belittle the danger his daughters still face.

In the park, families cooked out and blasted reggaeton. His daughter play-fought with her nephew, who never tired, no matter how many handfuls of grass she stuffed down his shirt, or how many times he retreated in tears.

She has found a better rhythm in their new life. In June, she finished sixth grade at the local school, which she loves. Her older brother keeps the graduation certificate on the small dining table.

She has dyed the tips of her hair purple, a style she’s grown fond of. Her face often falls back into the wide smile of the past, when her mother enrolled her in local beauty contests.

But she grows stormy and unpredictable at times, refusing to speak. She misses her mother. Her sisters, too.

Stuck in Guatemala, Lubia and her two other sisters moved into a small apartment, where they share a single bed. A portrait of their mother hangs on the wall.

They all work now, making tortillas in town. But they go straight home after, to avoid being spotted. Not long ago, Lubia ran into Gehovany’s mother.

Life for the sisters is measured in micro-improvements, pockets of air in the stifling fear. They are scarcely more than children themselves, raising children alone. Lubia’s 18-year-old sister now has an infant of her own.

They sometimes visit their mother’s grave, a green concrete box surrounded by paddle-shaped cactus.

“We are left here with nothing,” Lubia said.

She still bears the stigma of what happened. Neighbors, men and women alike, continue to blame her for her mother’s death. It doesn’t surprise her anymore. Now 20, she says she understands that women almost always bear the blame for problems at home.

She worries about the world her son will grow up in, what she can teach him and what he will ultimately come to believe. One day, she will tell him about his father, she says, but not now, or anytime soon.

By then, she hopes to be in the United States, free of the poverty, violence and suffocating confines for women in Guatemala.

“Here in Guatemala,” she said, “justice only exists in the law. Not in reality.”

Meridith Kohut in Jalapa, Guatemala and Paulina Villegas in Mexico City contributed reporting.

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Ya Gotta Love Infighting: Michael Avenatti Attacks Alyssa Milano for Attacking Him

Westlake Legal Group cat-3937880_1280-620x383 Ya Gotta Love Infighting: Michael Avenatti Attacks Alyssa Milano for Attacking Him Uncategorized Sexism nike Michael Avenatti Front Page Stories Featured Story domestic violence democrats basta Alyssa Milano Allow Media Exception #metoo

 

 

There’s nothing quite like political party infighting.

This past week, two of the Left’s most cartoonish characters collided.

Can’t-get-enough-TV-time attorney Michael Avenatti slammed actress-turned-mistaken-Paul-Revere Alyssa Milano over an aged tweet she fired off over allegations of domestic violence on the part of the used car salesm– I mean, lawyer.

Back in November, Michael was arrested after an ex-girlfriend accused him of grabbing her wrist and ejecting her from his apartment (here).

However, in February, it was announced that Michael wouldn’t be criminally charged.

But Alyssa long-ago made clear her position on allegations: We are to “believe all women.” Therefore, if it is untrue that a man did something, it is true that a man did something.

Or, to put it another way:

Alyssa Milano Pounds The Door Of A Congresswoman: All Women Are Right, Because Some Women Are Right

Or:

“Justice, schmustice. I’ve been sent to Earth to offer Charmed and salvation.”

Here’s what Alyssa had to say in November:

As pointed out by Fox News:

The hashtag “Basta” is a Spanish word meaning “enough,” which Avenatti often used on Twitter in posts critical of Donald Trump.

No word on why Michael waited until now to respond, but on Monday, he let Alyssa have it:

It should be noted that the domestic case is still open.

But Michael’s got bigger charges to face: The goofy guy — who made 254 television appearances in just one year — was indicted in May for allegedly trying to blackmail Nike and could be going to prison for a very long time (here).

Last week, the California State Bar motioned to suspend his license to practice law, given that his alleged criminality “poses a substantial threat of harm to clients or the public.”

For more Avenatti wackiness, see here, here, and here.

To watch an actress lost in the depths, please look here, here, here, here, here, and here.

-ALEX

 

Relevant RedState links in this article: herehere, here, herehere, hereherehere, here, here, here, here, and here.

See 3 more pieces from me:

Donald Trump Jr. & Others Defend Tucker, Call Out Media Matters On Its Selective Outrage

Don Lemon Says Kellyanne Conway Should Be Barred From CNN To Protect The Network’s ‘Dignity’

The Jerk: Elizabeth Warren Blames Her Family For Making Her Think She Was An American Indian

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British Police Propose Fighting Domestic Violence By Distributing Less Pointy Knives

Police in a British county have purchased one hundred kitchen knives without the pointy ends, for the purpose of distributing them to homes where someone is at risk for domestic violence, with the hope that the blunt-tipped knives will make it harder for the victims to be stabbed to death.

Yes, you read that correctly. From the report by the New York Times:

The proposal by the Nottinghamshire Police, in the East Midlands of England, comes as Britain struggles with an epidemic of knife crime outside the home, which some analysts say is fueled by reductions in the nation’s police forces under austerity and cuts to social service programs.

In Nottinghamshire, the police say domestic abuse cases involving knives make up 17 percent of all the county’s reported knife crimes. In an effort to address the issue, the Nottinghamshire police bought 100 knives specifically manufactured without points to replace kitchen knives in the homes of Britons who have been attacked or threatened with a knife, a police spokesman said.

The initiative was part of a larger strategy to tackle the level of knife-related episodes taking place in homes across the county, officials said. The knives would still be sharp enough to cut food, the police said, and the results of the small-scale trial would be evaluated at the end of the year.

The Times interviewed several domestic violence experts — including one who had the same reaction I did, thinking at first glance that this was a story from The Onion or another parody site — who denounced the plan as “ludicrous” and failing to understand the reality of domestic violence.

The Nottinghamshire Police, facing criticism on social media, backpedaled a bit and said the program was simply being considered as part of several initiatives to combat domestic violence and had not yet been implemented. If it does go forward, they would distribute the blunted knives in “appropriate high risk domestic situations.”

Excuse me? If a person presents such an obvious risk of committing violence against others that you don’t think they should be around sharp knives, then maybe a higher level of interference is warranted?

Gun control advocates frequently point to Britain, with its stricter gun laws, as an example. Stories like this show the reality: violent people are still violent, and use the instruments they have available to them. Changing the laws doesn’t stop violence; it means that violent people either obtain their weapons illegally, or find some other way to cause harm.

Britain may have made it harder for private citizens to legally obtain guns, but as the Times points out, knife crimes are on the rise, as are domestic abuse cases:

This week, the Ministry of Justice said that the number of people caught carrying knives and other offensive weapons in England and Wales had reached a nine-year high. Offenses involving such weapons have risen by 34 percent, to 22,041, since 2015 — the highest number since 2010, according to the ministry.

Read my RedState article archive here.

Follow Sarah Rumpf on Twitter: @rumpfshaker.

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Is This a Dream? British Government Gives Domestic Violence Victims Dull Knives So They Can’t be Stabbed with Them

Westlake Legal Group pirate-2750279_1280-620x413 Is This a Dream? British Government Gives Domestic Violence Victims Dull Knives So They Can’t be Stabbed with Them Violence victim focus Uncategorized nottinghamshire police law enforcement Knives knive exchange program jessica eaton Front Page Stories domestic violence Culture crime Courts Allow Media Exception

 

 

How’s about a story that’s so dumb you can’t believe it exists?

I GOTCHU.

In Britain, they’re trying to prevent violence.

So naturally, they’re doing the obvious: Authorities are taking away people’s sharp knives and giving them dull knives in return.

Aaaand utopia ACCOMPLISHED.

Folks who’ve been threatened at knife-point will receive, in a trade and compliments of the Nottinghamshire Police, “no point knives” to keep in their homes.

“No point” — that’s a good name for them, in more ways than one.

As communicated to the Independent by a law enforcement supervisor, the move’s simply something Brits need to do:

“We do see a fair amount of knife-related incidents in domestic abuse, not just on the streets. This is a measure we need to take. We want to reduce that risk. It is a trial. We have about 100 of them – and we have so far given out about 50. The knife is blunt at the end – but still functions as a knife – so you can’t stab someone.”

In case you’re wondering if this is a dream: No, this is really happening. You’re awake right now, and this is the world in which we’re all really living.

It’s really this dumb of a place.

The government’s idea, it seems, is that chicks in domestic violence situations will take home the knife that’s crummy for stabbing, and then their toxically masculine man’ll try to shank ’em, but then, in a British accent: “DadGUM! This thing won’t stab! Guess I’ll stop.”

Of course, now that the sharp knife is gone, that’s one less weapon the victim has, too.

Way to go, goobs.

The UK’s been at war with knives for quite a while now. Last year, a judge asserted any knife over 8 inches should be blunted on the end. Besides, who needs a knife, except a chef?

“I would urge all those with any role in relation to knives – manufacturers, shops, the police, local authorities, the government – to consider preventing the sale of long pointed knives, except in rare, defined, circumstances, and replacing such knives with rounded ends,” the judge said in a ruling. “It might even be that the police could organise a programme whereby the owners of kitchen knives, which have been properly and lawfully bought for culinary purposes, could be taken somewhere to be modified, with the points being ground down into rounded ends.”

Is the Western world really at a point where, if you don’t absolutely need it, you shouldn’t have it?

If so, I can think of a whole lotta things other than knives that need to go. Like judges’ opinions on knives.

Dr. Jessica Eaton, the founder of victims-rights group Victim Focus thinks she knows who came up with the knife-swap program:

“Morons.”

She appears to have a good nose for this sort of thing. And she can’t cut it off despite her face — her knife is too dull.

Or it will be, once cops figure out that you can still slash someone with the blade.



Also:

Dear UK:

Knives can be sharpened.

-ALEX

 

See 3 more pieces from me:

Never Trust A Frisky Octopus: Woke Sex Toy Company’s New Condom Requires 4 Hands To Open

Tucker Carlson: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is An Awful, Idiotic, Nasty, Self-Righteous Moron. BUT…

HORROR: Oppressed Actress Says She Was ‘Paralyzed’ Upon Learning She Wasn’t Making Thousands Per Day

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The post Is This a Dream? British Government Gives Domestic Violence Victims Dull Knives So They Can’t be Stabbed with Them appeared first on RedState.

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