Mariela’s Story

Mariela is a cancer survivor, who has been married for two years to her abuser who appears to be an active member of a Christian church, but with a criminal history of drugs, robbery, and domestic violence. When Mariela got married, she was unaware that her husband suffered from bipolarity, that he was taking medication and that he was a drug addict. 

Two days after getting married, Mariela began to suffer psychological, verbal, and financial abuse. Her husband was controlling and extremely jealous. He continued that behavior during the entire time they lived together. She said that she always forgave him because she was in love with him.

During the latest episode of physical violence, Mariela called the police, who escorted her out of their home. Mariela reached out to CasaLuz for help, where she says that she felt supported and understood. CasaLuz’s advocate worked with her on a safety plan and helped her to obtain an order of protection. She was referred to civil and immigration legal assistance at no cost for her divorce case, and to obtain an adjustment of status due to her husband being a U.S. citizen who never applied for an adjustment of status on her behalf, and instead, he used her lack of legal status as a weapon to refrain her from reaching out for help, and he threatened her to call ICE to deport her to her home country. 

Mariela is attending individual counseling sessions and a support group at CasaLuz’s office because she felt confused and depressed. She says that she feels better thanks to the support of CasaLuz and that reaching out for help at CasaLuz was the best decision of her life.

Names have been changed to protect identity.