Clara found legal aid after being severely injured by Rafe, her partner of 25 years. He came home drunk and started destroying the walls. He flew into a rage when Clara finally said “enough is enough.” Concerned neighbors called 911 and watched as Clara was transported to the hospital with internal bleeding, a broken arm, and irreversible back and neck injuries. Despite years of horror, Clara only sought help when she saw how Rafe’s abuse was affecting her adult daughter and her young son, Diego. Legal aid helped Clara gain full custody of Diego and resolve over $15,000 of misdirected medical bills. They also helped her assume the mortgage that Rafe refused to pay after he moved out, collecting evidence to show that Clara had been contributing all along, although Rafe’s was the only name on the loan documents. After suffering at Rafe’s hands for decades, Clara credits her legal aid lawyer’s patience and skill for giving her the confidence she needed to overcome fear, stand up for her rights, and regain safety. She explained that her lawyer would say, “You can do this. Don’t panic. Just come along when you can.” Clara and her son Diego are an inspiration, as is the legal aid lawyer who is helping her navigate this long journey.

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