Story by: Mireya Garcia

An Oklahoma City advocacy group is changing lives by helping a vulnerable community, and filling a desperate need. La Luz, or the light, has been advocating for domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking victims for the last year. In that short time, the bilingual organization has helped some 300 clients, and continues to grow.

Romantic relationships often carry a lot of weight in our lives. From committing to people to growing as a family– but that doesn’t always mean a happily ever after. When domestic violence becomes a part of a relationship, it is a dangerous time. In Oklahoma City’s Latino community, immigrant women in abusive relationship can be isolated and fearful of asking for help.

“They have a lot of myths out there. They think that if they come and get services, or if they try to leave their home, then they are going to get their children taken away from them,” says Linda Ortega, La Luz bilingual domestic violence advocate.

La Luz provides bilingual help to Spanish speakers at the Palomar Family Justice Center, and helps connect their clients to any other service they may need– whether it is police reports, court visits, hospital visits, or just talking with someone when you’ve been the victim of sexual assault.

“Support groups are really important for them, especially because sometimes they think they are the only ones going through these kinds of things. So, hearing about other women’s stories or educating them about other resources is really important,” says Diana Munguia, La Luz bilingual sexual assault advocate.

La Luz says clients and any victims can get in touch with them 24/7, and aren’t required to file police reports if they don’t want to— or aren’t ready.

Read the original story here.