Our office recently processed a case for an abused, male spouse under the VAWA statutes that were seemingly only written to address abuse to females hence the title, Violence Against Women Act.
The VAWA statutes can be applied to violence against men, but only in rare circumstances are they approved. During our initial consultation, the Client expressed a desire to leave the U.S. and return home where he would be safe. We convinced him that not only should he stay, but that he had to right to stay and not be bullied by his wife. Evidence was sparse because his wife would not allow him to go to the doctor and if he went it was only to a doctor of her choosing when she felt the time was appropriate, she took his paychecks as soon as he got paid, and she alienated him from his friends and family. He endured the abuse (mental, physical, financial, and emotional) for years because he was ashamed to be a man in such a situation. At the intake interview, Attorney Blackburn said, it broke her heart to hear his story, but she resolved to do the best she could for him. There were many challenges along the way. The divorce was messy and eventually granted as a no fault (which did not help his case). The wife turned vicious as she sent family members to physically attack him, she sent letters to anyone she could think of about him and their situation. The situation continued to escalate. To make matters worse, we found out that he was unable to read which contributed heavily to the abuse and the difficulties we had processing his case. After some major soul searching and hundreds of phone calls and e-mails, we prevailed. We filed as many viable petitions as we felt he was entitled to up to and including, his Naturalization. He wanted to give up so many times, but today after he was notified that his case was approved he was in tears. He will soon be sworn in as a citizen of the United States with all the rights and privileges thereof.