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How am I protected as a woman seeking asylum?

Women around the world are affected daily by domestic violence. Each year, nearly 10 million women are the victims of partner abuse and violence in the United States alone. Women abroad suffer from domestic violence and gender-based persecution on an even greater scale, including a lack of protection in some countries from their abusers, leading them to seek refuge in a different country.

In the US, the Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994 and was updated and improved in 2019. The act provides more cohesive and robust response to violent behaviors in relationships, strengthening protections for women from their abusers. Women around the globe have fled to the United States in order to escape the abuse their own government will not protect them from.

Women who seek asylum in the United States from gendered violence are protected under both domestic and international laws, which recognize domestic violence as a threat that governments are obligated to address. Unfortunately, some countries refuse to acknowledge or defend women against the persecution, discrimination, and violence they experience, which creates an urgent need for these women to seek refuge elsewhere.

To obtain asylum, you must first be in the country you intend to seek it in. Once you arrive, you can apply for gender-based asylum, which would then protect you against deportation.

Some examples of women who may qualify for gender-based asylum, in addition to victims of domestic violence, include:

  • Feminists who’ve been persecuted for political views on gender
  • Women who are persecuted for refusing gender-based religious requirements, such as head coverings or forced behaviors

Although the US has made recent attempts to revoke these protections for asylum seekers, courts have continued upholding them, meaning gender-based asylum is still available.

If you’re a refugee seeking asylum for gender-based persecution or discrimination, contact an attorney to discuss how to protect yourself and your right to seek asylum.