Fil-Am author reaches out to domestic violence survivors

By Rommel Conclara, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jun 16 2015 11:07 AM | Updated as of Jun 16 2015 07:07 PM

SAN FRANCISCO – Palanca-award winning Filipino-American Marivi Soliven is raising awareness about the plight of immigrant women who face abuse from their husbands through her book, "The Mango Bride."

"Filipino women a lot of times grew up with this formation that marriage is what you make of it and you endure whatever trials come your way. That this is your cross to bear. When things go awry in the relationship, they keep it to themselves because it's embarrassing for them," Soliven said.

Soliven is reaching out to real-life immigrant victims of domestic violence whose hopes for US citizenship are threatened by their abusive partners.

According to the Asian Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence, 20 percent of undocumented Filipino women surveyed in the Bay Area reported being victims of domestic violence.

Soliven based the book on real phone calls she took while working in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Tagalog interpreter for a domestic violence hotline.

That's why she's so passionate about the event at the Philippine Consulate in San Francisco called "Saving Beverly" which was named after a main character in her book.

The fundraising event aims to pay for legal fees and other services for immigrant women escaping abusive situations.

"I feel that I've reached out to somebody I may not ordinarily make contact with," said Soliven.

Former US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry Thomas Jr. fought hard against human trafficking during his tenure and is a big supporter of Soliven’s book and the "Saving Beverly" campaign.

Domestic violence survivor Maria Aimee Santos-Lyons understands the difficulty of dealing with not just the physical pain of abuse but the mental, as well.

"Community events like this that puts a name to the issue, puts a face to the women who experienced this, and then invites people to talk about the issue are absolutely critical in stopping this violence,” she said.

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