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'They're scared to ask for help': Cultural jewelry helping women suffering from domestic violence

Posted at 6:35 PM, Feb 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-14 19:35:32-05

WACO, Texas — Cultural jewelry is making a difference in the community — a local woman originally from Kenya is turning beads into a way to help women overcome domestic violence.

  • According to the National Organization of Women, abuse rates among immigrant women are as high as 49.8 percent — that’s almost three times the national average.
  • Alili Bold Accessories started out to help women in domestic violence situations.
  • Lilian Stephens began making and selling African jewelry inspired by the Maasai tribe in Kenya. Her proceeds go towards women suffering from domestic violence and women recovering from drug use.

BROADCAST SCRIPT:

“A lot of immigrant women, they don’t know about the resources we have and a lot of us are scared to ask for help,” Stephens said.

Lilian Stephens moved to the US from Kenya almost 30 years ago — when she arrived, she got married and found herself in a domestic abuse situation.

“My immigration status was being used to threaten me, so I was scared even though I was working trying to look for odd jobs here and there, I was still surviving with my kid."

After she found her way out of her relationship an into a shelter, she learned how to earn permanent residence.

“When those people helped me along the way, I knew in my heart I wanted to give back."

It was too long after she started her own non-profit, Alili Bold Accessories, helping women who were in similar situations.

She began making and selling African jewelry inspired by the Maasai tribe in Kenya.

“They wear big earrings and they make these — this was made by the Maasai,” she said.

All the proceeds go towards immigrant woman suffering in silence

“A lot of them don’t have papers, and they’re scared to ask for help, they are here and they feel the police will be called,” she said.

She starts with the children, doing annual toy drives in hopes of changing a life.

“I don’t ask them about their status, their family will reach out to me and I don’t ask nothing, all I do it just give them the toys," Stephens said.

"That’s where I open them up without trying to know too much, because it’s a sensitive thing for women to talk about."

According to the National Organization of Women, abuse rates among immigrant women are as high as 49.8 percent — that’s almost three time the national average.

Along with physical, sexual or emotional abuse, abusers often use their partners undocumented status as a weapon threatening deportation or refusing to file immigration papers.

If you find yourself in a domestic violence situation and need help, you can call 1-800-799-SAFE.

If you want to find Alili and support her ministry, you can find her website here — you can also visit her social media.

If you want to hear one of her amazing stories you can find her every Saturday at the Waco Farmers Market.