Teen Escaped from Her Country to Avoid Forced Marriage to Man in His 60s
A girl who lives in Southern California remembers her experience escaping from her family in Central America. She ran away to avoid a marriage arranged by his father and fueled by his ambition. The groom to be was an old man who had sexually abused her.
The girl escaped her home in Honduras when she was only 17-year-old. Her family wanted to force her to marry an old man who had raped her.
FACING HER FEARS
She crossed the border between Mexico and the United States without company, leaving behind a life of abuse.
Part of the psychological therapy that *Lucia (not her real name) receives in Los Angeles, California, included addressing one of her biggest fears: picking up the phone and talking with her father in Honduras.
"He told me: 'you can have what you want with your beauty.' He taught me how to take advantage of my body."
"I got sick, I felt my hands were cold. I did not know what to do. But to the person who has hurt me so much, I managed to tell him: 'I forgive you for everything you did to me.’”
"His answer was not what I expected,” she recalls of the phone conversation. “'I never hurt you, I always gave you love because you were my little girl, everything I did, I did it to improve your life,’” the man told her.
After that, there was one more call. It was the last.
A MARRIAGE BASED ON INTEREST
Lucia says that her father wanted to be related to a senior man that owned properties and houses for rent in their city. Arranged weddings are not out of place in her community, but they’re rarely actually executed, she says.
"They were preparing the wedding without my consent. Obviously, I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with an older person, and that was not to my liking,” the now 19-year-old recalls. “My dad didn’t want me to be with a person my age, but with this man because he had money. It was when I started looking for the means to get out of there.”
The harassment for her to accept the wedding, both from her family and the man was such that one day the old man raped her. “I did not agree with it. It was a challenging situation I had to endure,” she said.
A DIFFERENT TYPE OF ABUSE
Lucia’s father taught her to "take advantage of my body." She describes her father as an ambitious, interested and unscrupulous person.
According to her story, her father started using her since she was 15 to get what he wanted. She said:
"My dad made friends with people and said: 'I have a daughter, she is studying.’ He introduced me to them, and if I locked myself in my room, he would take me out claiming: 'Hey, don’t be rude, they came to see you.’”
She talked with those men against her will. At that time, her dad used to ask thee men for help with dissimulation. "He talked about his plans so that they offered their help in front of me," she said.
She assures that none of those men crossed the line with her, only the old man with whom they wanted to marry her.
When the visitors left, her dad advised her to flirt: "He told me: 'you can have what you want with your beauty.' He taught me how to take advantage of my body. Then I knew he was preparing me to sell myself."
A NEW LIFE
The young woman is now trying to heal her wounds away from her family. She has no one to turn to in Los Angeles, where she arrived without a plan.
Lucia planned to arrive in Virginia, but a distant relative in L.A agreed to be her sponsor and took her custody when she was in a juvenile center in Texas.
She’s in her junior year of high school and hopes to enter a public university next summer.
"Here I have good grades, I have won several medals. I have achieved everything that I could not achieve in my country. Now I can express myself. I know that I can achieve all my dreams and that nobody will impose anything on me,” she reflects.
Her immigration process is progressing faster than she thought: her asylum application has been accepted.
Lucia decided to share her story to encourage other kids or teenagers that might be dealing with abuse in their homes to speak up. “Don’t stay silent. You will find help everywhere,” she said.
ⓘ NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM does not support or promote any kind of violence, self-harm, or abusive behavior. We raise awareness about these issues to help potential victims seek professional counseling and prevent anyone from getting hurt. NEWS.AMOMAMA.COM speaks out against the above mentioned and advocates for a healthy discussion about the instances of violence, abuse, sexual misconduct, animal cruelty, abuse etc. that benefits the victims. We also encourage everyone to report any crime incident they witness as soon as possible.