Domestic Violence: It Can Happen to Anyone

Editor’s Note: Incidents of domestic violence, like spousal abuse, are heavily underreported in the eastern Coachella Valley according to local advocates. This primarily happens due to factors such as financial dependence, cultural acceptance and the fear of deportation for undocumented women. For decades, Lideres Campesinas, a women-led organization, has been working to end domestic violence in farmworker communities by educating women on their rights and connecting them to resources.  Every year, the grassroots group organizes a vigil to remember women from the community who lost their lives due to domestic violence. Community members are also encouraged to come forward during the vigil to share their stories of survival. View images from the event below.

Lideres Campesinas community leaders listened intently as women shared their experiences with domestic violence. (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated)
Left: Nancy Gonzalez, a community leader and volunteer with Lideres Campesinas, listens to community members share their experiences of domestic violence. (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated)

“I hear many stories from women in the eastern Coachella Valley who are afraid to say something because it is not easy. They don’t want anyone to know about their life in their house behind closed doors. It’s the culture. It’s hard for women to say anything; it’s really hard. But I share my story, and other volunteers share their stories, because this really happens. We don’t need any more deaths. My goal is that all women in the eastern Coachella Valley, and around the world, will say, ‘No more!’ ‘Basta!'”

— Nancy Gonzalez, Lideres Campesinas community leader and volunteer.

Several women's experiences with domestic violence were illustrated on pieces of cloth. This illustration reads, "Alto," or "Stop." (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated.)
During the vigil, several women’s experiences with domestic violence were illustrated on pieces of cloth. This illustration reads, “Alto,” or “Stop.” (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated.)
Esperanza Sotelo described her family's history with domestic violence, saying, "It could happen to anyone." (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated)
Esperanza Sotelo described her family’s history with domestic violence, saying, “It could happen to anyone.” (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated)
Elvira Herrera shared her experience of surviving domestic violence at the Lideres Campesinas vigil on Wednesday, October 12, 2016 in Coachella, Calif. Herrera said she once climbed a tall fence just to escape her former husband’s abuse. (Image: Paulina Rojas/ Coachella Unincorporated)

 

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