It was not until both women ended up in emergency rooms — Teresa with her face slashed and bloodied from a knife attack, Margaret bruised and traumatized from another beating — that they discovered a network of support that eventually helped them obtain legal immigration status as well as psychological and financial help.
“He treated me like a slave, and there was no one I could tell,” said Ashong, 62, who lives in Arlington County, Virginia. “He told the police I was not his wife and that they should send me back to my country. But [the police] said to me, ‘Don’t weep, madam, this is not an immigration matter. It is a case of domestic violence. We will get help for you.’ ”