Help for someone helpless
January 9, 2012 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Looking for emergency shelter for a pregnant woman first thing tomorrow morning. We're in Brooklyn.

A neighbor needs help. She is 22, eight months pregnant, Muslim, and speaks English (though not especially well). She is here on a green card. She is desperate to escape her physically abusive husband and is looking for shelter, immediately.

This is her idea and her plan, and we have some phone numbers and we're trying to get a referral. What can we do to set her up to leave first thing in the morning? She just wants someplace safe and clean.
posted by hermitosis to Human Relations (21 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: She has a little bit of money (under $400) and could pay a bit, if necessary, to stay somewhere. Her husband isn't around right now and hasn't been around much lately; she's kept in almost perfect isolation in her apartment but has managed to communicate to us from across the hall.

Incidentally this isn't in my own building, I'm staying with a friend. Sheltering her here is not an option -- her husband is my friend's landlord.
posted by hermitosis at 8:41 PM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: Right now the plan is for her to go to the Path Center in the Bronx first thing in the morning for a referral of some kind?

Can we do better than that?
posted by hermitosis at 8:44 PM on January 9, 2012

Hi...I am not familiar with your town, but I did want to check that you have called your local women's crisis centre to find out about emergency shelters. I imagine someone here will have more specific resources, but a quick call might get things rolling. When I called my local shelter once, they offered up *immediate* options.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 8:45 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: We asked if she needs out tonight, and she says she wants to go first thing in the morning. (He's not home now and is unlikely to turn up before then.)
posted by hermitosis at 8:46 PM on January 9, 2012

Turning Point for Women and Families, based in Queens , is the first community based agency to directly address domestic violence in the New York Muslim community. It addresses domestic violence through direct services for women and children, community outreach and education, referrals and advocacy. It also runs a youth program for Muslim girls. For more information about Turning Point please visit
posted by timsteil at 8:57 PM on January 9, 2012 [5 favorites]

this looks like a press spokeperson for turning point...but can probably put you in touch

Contact: Robina Niaz, 718.883.9400
posted by timsteil at 8:58 PM on January 9, 2012

Sanctuary for Families does good work and has lawyers that speak several languages and they are familiar with immigration law and visas. I can personally recommend their legal staff. They might have attorneys who are fluent in her language available to her.

Safe Horizons is another resource that might be better for getting her immediate help.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:58 PM on January 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Turning Point seems ideal, she has the number now. But their offices don't open until 10AM tomorrow, so we'll still look at other options in the meantime.

Thank you so much for the suggestions so far, she is very scared and sad, but the promise of being able to call and talk to someone who speaks her language has perked her up a bit.
posted by hermitosis at 9:05 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ah, good. This is a list of all the languages spoken by Sanctuary for Families staff, if that helps.
posted by the young rope-rider at 9:11 PM on January 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I called Safe Horizon and discussed it with them, we are going to have her call for herself now so they can begin assessing her for immediate assistance. They told me that the Path Center is a good backup plan in the meantime.
posted by hermitosis at 9:13 PM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: After speaking with them for a half hour, she is pretty frustrated because she's very hung up on the idea of landing somewhere clean -- especially because of the baby. The people she's talking to on the phone are trying to walk her through the system, but naturally they aren't able to offer any guarantees about what sort of facility she'd be placed in, and if it's not clean or safe enough then I don't think she'll stay.

It sounds like she'd rather rent out a tiny room somewhere for the month of January, until it's time to have the baby, and then return to her home country. I don't know how realistic that is, but hopefully we'll know more tomorrow.

Her plan is still to go to Path tomorrow and call the Muslim women in Queens at 10AM.
posted by hermitosis at 9:52 PM on January 9, 2012

You're helping your friend's landlord's abused spouse leave him, with their unborn child. If she leaves, or even if she stays but reveals her plan, your friend, and you, may no longer be secure in this space. If nothing else, please change the locks on your friend's apartment door immediately, and be careful.
posted by Scram at 10:28 PM on January 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

Ditto Scram that your friend should be careful, but changing locks and not giving the landlord a key could cause big problems.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:18 AM on January 10, 2012

Came here to suggest Sanctuary for Families and I see someone beat me to it. So seconding Sanctuary! I've volunteered with them and their staff is great and caring. They also deal with many many immigrant women, a number of which are Muslim, so the staff is well-versed on immigration and cultural issue.
posted by lovelygirl at 6:24 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

If she wants to take a baby out of the country without the consent of her spouse, she needs legal advice above all else. I don't want to be frightening, but that may put her at the mercy of international laws designed to prevent parental kidnapping.
posted by the young rope-rider at 8:59 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks everyone. I am waiting for updates about what happens today. I'll be sure to share.
posted by hermitosis at 9:34 AM on January 10, 2012

Not sure if more suggestions are still needed but I've heard good things about the New York Asian Women's Center. They work directly with women looking to escape domestic violence, have a 24 hour multilingual hotline you can call, and offer shelter as well.
posted by 9000condiments at 9:59 AM on January 10, 2012

I don't think you can kidnap an unborn child.
posted by rhizome at 10:23 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

That is the case in the US; we don't know the law in her home country. Either way my advice was meant for if she waits for the baby to be born then leaves, as mentioned in the follow-up.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:37 AM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Update from my friend/her neighbor:

"She's being helped out by the Muslim women hotline people apparently, and is moving out!"

I'll continue to post as I learn more.
posted by hermitosis at 3:28 PM on January 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

That is so great to hear. Hermitosis, thank you so much for helping her.

If she needs any more help, just want to second Safe Horizon--they are a great organization; I've known several people who worked there and it's solid.
posted by min at 4:48 PM on January 10, 2012

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