Legal Incubators: Pathways to Justice and Hope for Survivors of Violence and Abuse

By Casey Gwinn and Gael Strack

Francisca felt his hands around her neck for the first time when she was pregnant with her first child. The small town they lived in on the southern border of the Mexican state of Durango had a police chief who had been friends of her husband’s family for 20 years. There was no legal support or protection available for her from her rage-filled husband. While he had abused her before, this was the first time his rage crossed the line to homicidal conduct. As he raged at her with both hands around her neck, his words penetrated deep into her soul. “Perra!” (“Bitch”). “Coño!” (“C-nt”). “Es hora de morir!” (“It is time to die”). Minutes later, when she regained consciousness, he was gone. She had urinated during the assault and her throat was so sore she could hardly swallow. She knew she had to get away, but how? Who would help her? She had no money. No one would believe her. She had a new baby on the way. And he promised he would never hurt her again. So, she stayed.

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