Escaping Domestic Abuse (Mexico)

photo of Hidalgo by Diego Delso

I was walking in the desert with my daughter and I couldn’t feel my hands nor my feet so I looked at them and all I saw was  my feet swollen. I mean I can even see purple around my leg. It hurts so much. I was about 34 and my daughter just turned 18.

My name is Josefina (name changed) and I am 51.  I was very poor with my four kids and my abusive husband, and we all lived in Pachuca Hidalgo. My house was made out of cardboard brick. It was a very small  house with one electric stove and two beds and I would put a wooden plank at the bottom. I would work as a servant at a house in the rich part of they city and in the weekends i would sell tamales.  A way I survived was when people would give me used clothes and free food cause I needed it for my kids but most of the time it was very hard to find help cause there was not much help back then.  Also since i didn’t have any money for the bus i had to tell my kids to walk back home from school.

I left Mexico because my husband would hit me really bad and also because I needed money because I was very poor at that time. When I went to America I brought three of my children – two girls and one boy, but I did have enough money to take all of them and to this day I am sad that I didn’t take all my kids with me.  One day me and my sister were talking and she advised me to go to the US because she didn’t want me to live in this life of abuse any more. But when I was thinking about it I thought “que ya no iba a ser maltratada y para trabajaría  para que le de dinero a mis hijos.” I would no longer be abused and I would have money to feed my kids.

We left Tijuana and we started to walk late at night in the desert and it was freezing cold and we came across a mountain and we slept on top of the mountain. The weather was very cold at night and in the day it was very hot.I had very little food with me so me and my daughter had to eat very little and it was hard because we couldn’t eat very much and also with water I had to take little sips of water with my daughter. That was the most difficult part of the trip. When we were almost at los angeles i couldn’t feel my legs so i looked down and i saw my legs swollen and were turning purple also my hands were swollen and i couldn’t feel them because my blood circulation was not going the right way.

We arrived 4 of July at Los Angeles. We ate and they let us take a shower and where in a basement and there was a little window and we saw fireworks i asked the lady that let us stay in her house and she said that it was independence day. It was one of the most beautiful things i have ever seen. We stayed there staring at the fireworks and i was so happy that day. The next day they took us to East Palo Alto for the first time and i went to find my brother’s house and they were surprised to see us cause we had made it. It was really hard to get used to life in America cause no one wanted to give me a job because i didn’t know how to work that well cause it was hard. But years later i got used to it and it was easier for me and i was able to find a job to help my kids.

On July 4 me and my daughter will be 18 years old in the United States and I will never regret coming here. I was able to find a job to help my kids and a better life without abuse and being able to have food at the table and also help for people who are diabetic like myself.  I would go back to Mexico because i want to see my kids and also my grandkids and  I thank god for all the opportunities that he gave me. I will never regret going to the United States.  But it also hurts that i am not able to see my kids and every Christmas and Mothers day breaks me the most cause i am not able to hug my kids and let them know that i am proud of them.  I am happy that i have a Granddaughter that tries to do her best and i am very much proud of her and also my daughter who raised a great granddaughter. I am proud of some Americans who help people in need like myself.

The interview and write up were done by Josefina’s granddaughter.

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