Client Story: Annie
By Steven Lee, Executive Director
New York- Justice For Our Neighbors
Annie* was born in Peru where she graduated from university and worked in massage therapy. She got married and had a daughter in Peru before leaving for the United States where she and her daughter overstayed their visitors’ visas.
Annie and her daughter moved to New York. While looking for a second job to support her and her daughter (she was now divorced), her friend introduced her to Bobby*, who owned a cleaning business. Bobby hired her right away and seemed to be a perfect gentleman. Because Annie doesn’t own a car, he picked her up to go to work and drove her home. He taught her how to drive and sent her gifts. Annie thought that she had met the man of her dreams.
After a while, however, Bobby became controlling. He insisted on going everywhere with Annie, even to pick up her daughter at school. When Annie’s ex-husband came to visit them in New York, Bobby followed them to dinner and spied on them. He forbade Annie to talk to other men at work or to take a ride from anyone.
Soon, Bobby’s behavior escalated into violence. When Annie refused to do as he asked, he would grab her arm and squeeze. One evening, he was so upset that she didn’t pick up his phone call right away that he assaulted her in his car and did not stop until she started to cry. After these violent outbursts, Bobby would always apologize or take her out to dinner. He told Annie that he loved her and cared for her deeply. But Bobby continued to follow Annie around everywhere, to the laundromat, to her friend’s house, and to her daughter’s school.
One evening, he followed Annie to her friend’s house, and her friend became upset and worried. Annie's friend called the police, but Bobby left before the police could get there. Annie went to the police station and filed a report. She told the police that Bobby had followed her all week and that he owned a gun. The police arrested him that day, but Bobby posted bond and was released. The police provided surveillance at her home for her protection, and Annie was issued a temporary order of protection against Bobby. She cooperated with the District Attorney’s office in the prosecution of Bobby.
Annie was referred to NYAC-JFON by the Nassau County Coalition Against Domestic Violence. She met with S. Yan Sin, one of the volunteer site attorneys for NYAC-JFON, to work on her U-visa petition. A U-visa, if approved, can provide temporary immigration benefits to aliens who are victims of a qualifying criminal activity, as well as to their qualifying family members. This is one of the many legal services that NYAC-JFON provides for clients.
Annie's U-visa was approved in October 2013, and Annie now feels as if her whole life has opened up. She is ready for a fresh start. Her daughter is about to graduate from high school and is currently looking at colleges, and Annie herself looks forward to getting her driver’s license and her equivalency degree in massage therapy.
*Names have been changed.
Photo courtesy of www.sxc.hu