Rosa Lozado, 35, began noticing abusive behavior in her husband in the second year of their marriage. Lozado yelled at him after he hit her daughter. Then he hit Lozado. It kept progressing from there.
A victim of domestic violence, Lozado sought help through the UMOS Latina Resource Center, 802 W. Historic Mitchell St. Lozado heard about the center from a friend, who had received support from victim advocates there in the past.
According to End Domestic Abuse Wisconsin, 53 women so far this year have been killed as a result of domestic violence.
On Saturday, the Latina Resource Center hosted a candlelight vigil in support of victims of domestic violence. Staff and supporters gathered in front of the center to read aloud the names of the 53 women, followed by a moment of silence.
“It’s not often we have our doors open like this,” said Mariana Rodriguez, program manager at the UMOS Latina Resource Center “We want the public to see what we do and have people feel comfortable knowing what we do.”
The Latina Resource Center is a victim-centered organization geared toward sexual assault, human trafficking and domestic violence issues.
While the center focuses on Latinas, the doors are open to everyone, said outreach coordinator Javier Acevedo.
Women who go to the Latina Resource Center for help are connected with a victim advocate. The center offers a variety of programs, including bilingual support groups for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.
UMOS staff helped Lozado when she was fighting to get a divorce from her abusive husband. She was in the relationship for 16 years.
“It was very difficult to get divorced, but now I feel very good,” Lozado said. “I feel free.” Lozado now works at a factory in the city and has shared custody of her three children.
Vienny Gaines, a domestic violence advocate, said that sometimes women want to share their stories, but it can be very difficult.
One domestic violence survivor, who declined to give her name, said that in her first marriage, the problems started when her husband called her names. “Then, he would start to hit me,” she said.
Her husband’s behavior escalated during their six years of marriage.
“He touched a private part of my daughter and choked her. He would rape me and put a pillow over my face. He would bite me.”
When she remarried, she was again the object of abusive behavior. Her husband would call her names, hit her and throw things at her. Eventually, he would threaten her with a knife. She said that if she or her two children wanted to leave the house, most days he would stop them.
The second marriage ended in 2012, when she went to the Latina Resource Center for support. Now, she is divorced and living in Milwaukee with her children.
“If other women are experiencing the same thing, they need to know that they have the strength to leave,” she said.
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