By Kent Patterson
Editor’s note: In continuing our series on gender violence issues, Frontera NorteSur offers the first of two articles on a New Mexico community organization that struggles against domestic violence in the Spanish-speaking immigrant community.
Off a busy Albuquerque boulevard, one of the city’s most vital services goes on quietly with its work. Now 13 years old, Enlace Communitario, or Community Link, works non-stop to prevent and resolve domestic violence among the Duke City’s large, Spanish-speaking immigrant population.
Beginning with a handful of visionary founders, Enlace Comunitario now employs a fulltime staff of 31 and many volunteers who educate the community about the varied manifestations of domestic violence, as well as channels assistance and resources to victims.
To reach a big population in a geographically spread-out area, Enlace trains and deploys volunteers called promotoras, or promoters, who are typically survivors of domestic violence.
Recently, FNS sat down with three new promotoras to hear their stories and ideas as they get ready to hit the field. Now in the prime of their lives, all of the women express a deep desire to give back to the community.
Originally from the central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi, Tomasita Turruviartes said the domestic violence she suffered resulted in a spell of homelessness. Eventually finding her way to Enlace Comunitario, the mother of four got counseling and a legal referral to help her with obtaining a divorce and child support. Turruviartes considers herself fortunate to have received the aid.
“I was a victim of domestic violence. I am a survivor of domestic violence,” she said in a firm voice. “Many women suffer from domestic violence, but they don’t talk about it or know where to go.”
Like many of her paisanos in Albuquerque, Isabel Licano hails from Chihuahua, the big Mexican state bordering New Mexico. Another survivor, Licano said her husband tormented her for 15 years, even sometimes locking her out of the house while destroying the personal documentation she possessed.
At one point, Licano admitted, she was on the verge of suicide. But like Turruviartes, Licano found help…
Finish reading New Mexico’s Immigrant Women Rise against Domestic Violence