In July, a 23-year-old Honduran woman told the authorities that she was sexually assaulted in a bedroom closet by a smuggler who had helped her and her sister cross into the South Texas city of Mission.
The following month, a sheriff’s deputy in San Antonio was charged with sexually assaulting the 4-year-old daughter of an undocumented Guatemalan woman and threatening to have her deported if she reported the abuse.
Gladys, 45, a mother of four from Guatemala, said she was kidnapped by armed smugglers after crossing the border and jumped out of a car to escape, but was captured again. He raped her in his apartment in Mission, Tex., and later committed suicide.
For days, she was held prisoner at a stash house in Mc Allen and forced to have sex with six men. E., 19, and two other migrants were kidnapped in South Texas by a Border Patrol agent, Esteban Manzanares, when J.
“One in three women are sexually assaulted on the dangerous trek up through Mexico,” he said in January — an estimate that appears to have originated from some limited surveys, one of them by Doctors Without Borders, of women traveling through Mexico.
But less understood is that the violence that befalls migrant women happens not just during the perilous journey through Mexico: Much of it happens after women reach the supposed safety of the United States.
In 2016, a migrant woman fled a stash house in the South Texas city of Edinburg, where she said she had been raped by a smuggler who brandished a machete.
In West Texas that same year, two teenage girls reported that they had been sexually assaulted by a Customs and Border Protection officer, who they said forced them to strip, fondled them, then tried to get them to stop crying by offering chocolates, potato chips and a blanket.
“I think that since they put me in that room, they killed me,” she said.
One reported that she was attacked in Mexico; six said they were assaulted in South Texas. I asked him why, and he answered me that he was doing this to me because I was the prettiest one of the three. He always stood up and sat down, and stood up and sat down. The younger one said, “Come with me.”I said, “Where are we going? But then when they took me and put me in the car, I felt frustrated and alone. When they brought me to Laredo, I told a doctor what happened.
One said she was attacked in both Mexico and South Texas. There are people who sort of discard you when they know what happened to you. ” And he said, “We’re going to catch up with them ahead.”He bit my mouth so I could not cry out. He said, “Don’t feel like you’re the only one that this happened to.
But the majority of women who have been assaulted do not report it, often because their attackers threaten to expose their immigration status — or worse — if they do. I think that since they put me in that room, they killed me. They don’t care that you’re a mother, that you have family. And I still remember while I was with them there, it was my birthday, and I didn’t want to, not that day. And every time I closed my eyes, the men would appear.
One woman, raped repeatedly at gunpoint in a stash house in Phoenix in 2005, said her attacker threatened to sell her 3-year-old daughter if she reported him. And I remember that he grabbed me and at one point bit me, and when I arrived at the detention center, I still had the bite marks. And according to them, the rape that day was for my birthday.
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Then they took her to a room upstairs, locked the door and began taking turns with her.