Webber, Polly A.

Case #3358

IJ Polly Webber granted asylum on November 7, 2005. Applicant was a 40-year old woman from Guatemala who was attacked and raped by four armed and masked men who held up the company bus on which she and fellow workers were riding after their shift at a shrimp factory in Champerico. She was so traumatized by this horrible event that she has not been able to go home or even tell anyone what happened. She presented information about protests and violence in Champerico beginning in the early 1990s when big shrimp factories came in and pushed out the small fisherman. It's possible that the attack was related to this kind of labor strife. The attackers told the women they would kill them if they saw them going to work in the shrimp factory again. She submitted a report and testimony from her therapist attesting to her PTSD. The government argued that her fear was real but not reasonable. Judge Webber agreed, and decided it on Matter of Chen.

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Case #35

The applicant was married in 8/89, at the age of 21. Her husband, an agricultural worker, refused to let her leave the house, even to see her parents. He believed that women's role in society was to be subordinate to and dependent upon men. He was angered by her desire to work outside the home. Eight months into their marriage, she was pregnant with their first child. In 4/90, the husband returned home intoxicated and beat her after accusing her of being unfaithful, breaking her nose and giving her two black eyes. Her husband did not allow her to leave the house for medical treatment, and he threatened to kill or "disappear" her. After two days, her husband went to work and she pressed abuse charges against him with the mayor and a judge. The husband was ordered to appear; she went to live with her parents. The husband did not obey the summons and was not pursued by the police. She rarely left her parents house due to fear of her husband. The husband refused to have himself listed as the father on his two children's birth certificates. She moved to Guatemala City to support herself working as a machine operator. Her husband, by then in the army, tracked her down. The couple briefly reconciled. Within two months, she was again pregnant and her husband was again threatening to kill her. She fled to her parents' home, but he followed her there and was seen around the house. The husband also threatened to kill her brother. A judge told her that there was nothing to be done because the police had not served him, and closed the case. The husband, no longer in the military, had relations with other women during this time. One woman who was beaten by him reported the incident to the police, but he was let go when he showed his military card. In 6/95, she fled Guatemala for the U.S., leaving her children in her parents' care.

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