Despite Vice President Kamala Harris’ “Do not come” warning to would-be migrants on her trip to Central America, many women in the region say they have no other way of escaping the brutal violence from their boyfriends, spouses, and others in one of the world’s most dangerous regions for women, says the Washington Post. While President Joe Biden signed several executive orders to roll back the previous administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policies, including one that sent asylum seekers back to Mexico to await their hearings, a number of other restrictive measures and rulings that directly affected these domestic violence survivors remain in place.
During the Pandemic, violence against women has increased in many parts of Latin America, as services such as shelters have shut down, forcing women to stay with their abusers during lockdowns, say women’s rights groups and international organizations. Central America has the highest violent death rates for women in the world – and is the region which most women are seeking asylum – according to a 2019 survey by the United Nations’ Gender Equality Observatory for Latin America and the Caribbean. “It was a pressure-cooker stress where there was preexisting violence and then no escape route,” said Meghan López, vice president for Latin America at the International Rescue Committee, which works with organizations in the region.