South Africa: 'Why I Can't Leave' - Home Affairs Is Part of the Problem for Refugee and Migrant Women Stuck in Abusive Situations


Under lockdown, with no in-person services available to refugees and asylum seekers at Home Affairs, a woman who wants to separate her documentation from that of an abusive husband or partner cannot do so.

"I cannot leave, because of my children."

"There is no place for me to go."

"My documents are all linked to my husband, so if I left I would be without legal status in South Africa."

"My job would not support me and the children if we left, so we have to stay."

Many refugee, asylum seeker and migrant women have experienced many departures - departure from their home country, departure from their home, departure from the comfort and familiarity of speaking their home language, of being surrounded by those they know or feel at home with.

These departures are by no means easy. They are acts of faith, journeys of hope and often grasps at the chance of a better, safer future, for themselves and their families.

However, there is one other departure that is often not possible for (mainly) women who find themselves in another country far from their hometowns, their mother tongues and the support networks they grew up with - leaving a...

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