Immigrant Women’s Vulnerability to Domestic Violence

13 May 2015

In 2009, Nan-Hui Jo left the U.S., following the orders of Immigrant Customs Enforcement (ICE), who denied her visa application after her abusive estranged husband refused to sponsor her green card. She took her one year old daughter, Vitz Da, whom she had with her new partner, Jesse Charlton, because she was afraid for her safety, as Jesse was also physically and emotionally abusive. In July of 2014, Nan-Hui and Vitz Da returned to the U.S., landing in Hawaii, where Nan-Hui was immediately arrested, charged with child abduction, and placed under an immigration hold. At her April 28th retrial on child abduction charges, she was found guilty, and sentenced to 175 days served and 3 years of probation.

As noted in RH Reality Check, stories like Nan-Hui Jo’s are not uncommon among immigrant women; thousands of people apply for the VAWA Cancellation of removal, which allows immigration judges to cancel deportation proceedings and grant permanent residency for people experiencing abuse. Multiple systems failed to protect and support Nan-Hui and her child, causing separation and trauma of mother and daughter. Immigrant women, particularly undocumented women, are extremely vulnerable to experiencing domestic violence. In addition to common abusive tactics such as isolating the victim, and controlling their whereabouts, abusive partners use women’s immigration status to control them. Because of language barriers, lack of knowledge of legal rights and laws, and separation from friends and family, immigrant women experiencing abuse often feel trapped (Futures Without Violence).

Luckily, there are committed individuals and organizations advocating for Nan-Hui. The Sacramento Korean community, spearheaded by Misun Yi,  supported her by fundraising for her legal defense and attending her trial. Also, young queer Korean and other Asian American women started the Stand With Nan-Hui Campaign, fiercely advocating Nan-Hui’s behalf. To stay up to date with and find out how to support Nan-Hui’s case, visit the Stand With Nan-Hui Campaign’s website or follow them on Twitter.

A Long Walk Home’s 2nd Annual Domestic Violence Awareness Walk

22 October 2014
A Long Walk Home, Inc.
 invited the community on its 2nd annual Domestic Violence Awareness Month walk, this year dedicated to Marissa Alexander, a mother of 3 in Florida who potentially faces 60 years in prison for firing a warning shot to defend herself from an abusive husband. This program and walk were organized by the parents and girls of A Long Walk Home’s Parent Leadership Institute and Girl/Friends programs located in the North Lawndale neighborhood.

photo credit: Sarah Jane Rhee


Mother’s Day Art & Card Making Event

On April 23rd, Love & Protect partnered with Black & Pink: Chicago and Chicago Books to Women In Prison to host an art and card-making event for incarcerated mothers.  With the hopes the art and cards would be received in time for Mother’s Day, those gathered created items for Nan-Hui Jo, Paris Knox, Tewkunzi Green and Cherelle Baldwin.  Letters of support were also written to Purvi Patel and get-well and birthday wishes were sent to Mumia Abu-Jamal.

It was also important for the community to write letters of support to Angela Helton, Rekia Boyd’s mother.  Earlier that week, Judge Porter issued a directed verdict of not guilty for Officer Servin who killed Rekia Boyd.

photo credit: Ayanna Banks Harris