Center for Victims of Torture Impact Story

Xenophobia was rampant in South Africa when Patricia married a man from the Congo. When she was 9 months pregnant, her family was targeted. As her home was burning down she fled, hoping to make it to Canada. But on her way she went into labor and gave birth to her son in the El Salvador airport. After settling into a homeless shelter, the person who was supposed to be keeping her safe instead tried to steal and traffic her baby. Patricia resisted, and was tortured.  Patricia fled again, but this time with an infant on her hip. Patricia walked—more than 1,500 miles—to finally reach the US/Mexico border, where she asked to seek asylum. Patricia and her son spent months in an American detention center while their case made its way through the courts.  Thanks to the compassion of strangers, they finally found their home in Minnesota. But Patricia’s journey wasn’t over. She was haunted by the memories of the pain she had endured. When she first arrived at the Center for Victims of Torture, she was in a dark place, overcome with fear, anxiety, and shame. But the pain that broke her all those years ago is the same pain that rebuilt her strength, courage, and resilience.  After five years of therapy sessions and intensive case management at CVT’s St. Paul Healing Center she is now the happy and healthy mom she always wanted to be.

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