Sometimes brothers do more than tease their sisters. Sometimes they say things like, “Why don’t you help women who are brought to the U.S. from different countries and are abused by their husbands?”
That’s what former Bollywood star Somy Ali’s brother advised after a bleeding Bangladeshi neighbor came to her door and said she’d been beaten for 10 years, and her father-in-law had just raped her.
A call to action
Ali not only called the police, she helped the woman find an apartment and paid for her divorce attorney. Then she founded No More Tears, a not-for-profit organization that partners with area police, first-rate attorneys, therapists and medical practitioners such as optometrists, dentists and physicians. Dedicated to providing individualized assistance to victims of domestic violence in the U.S, No More Tears offers English classes, driving lessons and other services to help get victims back on their feet.
Immigrants at risk
Many women helped by No More Tears come from immigrant communities and are only let out of the house to grocery shop. They learn how to escape their abusive circumstances through fliers posted in ethnic markets. One such victim was a Jordanian woman.
“She wanted to study, and her husband said no, your job is to cook, clean, and produce children,”
Ali recalled. When Ali went to rescue her in 2008 with a police officer, the woman had been locked in a room and hadn’t seen sunlight in three months. Last year, with assistance from No More Tears, she graduated with a doctorate in pharmacy.
This new Ph.D. is one of nearly 200 women who were afraid to speak out, who faced immense barriers to leaving their abusers and who found a voice.
No More Tears is partially funded by So-Me, a socially conscious clothing company focused on raising awareness of human rights issues and taking a stand against injustice. A percentage of every purchase goes toward global humanitarian causes.
Still, No More Tears is at a crossroads. Funds are dangerously low.
“I’ve put $286,000 of my own money into No More Tears, and it’s depleted,” Ali says. “There’s no paid staff, no one on salary, just interns and volunteers; 100 percent of the money goes to the victims. We’re struggling very badly financially. I’d hate to see No More Tears shut down.” She encourages people to donate via the Web site and pledge even as little as $10 a month.