Can woman get asylum based on persecution for leaving abusive husband?

Escape from domestic violence can be the basis for the violence if you can show that the abuse was connected to one of five legally required grounds.


I’m from Bangladesh, where I married a man who knew I wanted to work after completing my schooling. After our marriage my husband decided he wanted a “good Muslim wife.” He refused to allow me to leave the house unveiled and refused to let me get a job. He began beating and raping me until I was finally able to leave for the United States. I am afraid he will kill me if I return home. Can I get asylum?


Women who suffered persecution or who have a well-founded fear of persecution because they decided to leave an abusive spouse may have a claim for asylum in the United States. If you live in a male-dominated country, the decision to leave an abusive spouse may be viewed, under U.S. immigration law, as a political opinion, since leaving your husband clearly expresses your belief that your husband has no right to beat you.

Even a woman’s decision to leave her country and apply for asylum may constitute a political opinion. Identifying a basis for your persecution such political opinion or one of other five grounds is crucial to your claim, as described in "What Counts as “Persecution” When Applying for Asylum or Refugee Status."

If your abuser is also your persecutor, it is also important to demonstrate that the police in your country could not or would not protect you. One way to do this is to gather any police reports you have made as well as more general reports (for example, from newspapers or human rights organizations) or expert affidavits about conditions in your country with regards to the treatment of women. You can also submit information from any organizations in your country that help victims of domestic violence.

Asylum based on gender, including domestic violence, is a developing part of asylum law in the United States. In many domestic violence cases, the person can claim that the persecution is tied directly to race, religion, or nationality, in addition to political opinion. This will help your claim be decided in your favor.

If you suffered or fear persecution because you were abused by your spouse you should consult an attorney experienced in asylum law.

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How It Works

  1. Briefly tell us about your case
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  3. Choose attorneys to contact you