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Danbury Woman Strives To Help Immigrant Victims Of Domestic Abuse

Nasheba Barzey founded the Battered Immigrants Advocacy & Justice Center in Danbury. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris
Barzey surrounds herself with positive messages in her Danbury office. Photo Credit: Nicole Kasseris

DANBURY, Conn. — Nasheba Barzey knows first-hand the difficulties and dangers that immigrant women can face from abusive partners. To help others facing the problems she has conquered, Barzey founded the Battered Immigrants Advocacy & Justice Center in Danbury.

Barzey offers assistance to immigrant victims and survivors of violent crimes, including domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse and human trafficking.

“I was fortunate enough to get out, because nobody deserves to be put in a situation like that,” said Barzey. "Regardless of immigration status, no one deserves to be abused or sexually assaulted."

Immigrants, especially women, are vulnerable to domestic violence and sexual assault, she says.

"Abusers use immigration status as a tactic to control and coerce abused immigrants into staying in abusive relationships," the business's website says. "Many remain in abusive relationships because they fear being out of legal immigration status or because they fear deportation. Also, many victims choose not to report crimes against them because of their immigration status."

Battered Immigrants Advocacy & Justice Center is a subsidiary of BarZ Consulting LLC.

“I don’t want to turn anyone away because they can’t pay,” she said.

The Battered Immigrants Advocacy & Justice Center uses education, counseling and medical and legal advocacy and referrals to help its clients. It also works in the community to raise awareness, circulate information and develop strategies for eradicating abuse on immigrants.

When immigrants are victims of domestic abuse, their partners may have unique ways of exerting power and control such as preventing the victim from learning English, threatening deportation, withdrawing petitions for legal status or destroying passports, resident cards or other legal documents.

Barzey believes she can help others by sharing her story.

“People need to hear the story behind doing it,” she said of how she founded the center.

After coming to the United States, Barzey married a U.S. citizen and became pregnant. Her husband began pressuring her to get an abortion. When she refused, he left her and withdrew the paperwork for her to stay legally in the U.S.

Barzey navigated the complex immigration system on her own and did the necessary paperwork to stay in the country. But with no money and no place to live, she ended up in a shelter for women.

She got back on her feet, established a home for her family and went back to school. She earned her bachelor’s degree and put herself through law school.

Now with her business up and running, Barzey is helping to put people into safer environments and have brighter futures.

To seek more information on the organization, visit the website at www.biajc.org , call 203-826-0602 or email info@biajc.org . The office is located at 7 National Place in downtown Danbury. In an emergency, call 911.

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