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Consuelo's Story

Listen to Consuelo's Story:

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I’m Consuelo Morales. I come from a large family, ten brothers and one sister, and I am the last one of my family. We lived in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela. From my childhood I saw how many men there were and how they had more privileges than the women. They could go out and come back when they wanted, and we had to ask for permission. Even when we did ask, they didn’t let us, so we went from class to home and I had no other activity but to go out with my parents to some event. I wasn’t like my brothers, that was the difference in my family, because I was a woman I couldn’t go out alone. In our cultural values, there was more responsibility for the woman to raise children, but it was totally different for men who can get a woman pregnant but had no responsibility to raise or care for this woman and the baby. A pretty heavy burden for a woman to carry.

Consuelo in a yellow blouse at a formal event.

After leaving home at 19 years old, I got married and became a mother. My husband and I raised three children, one girl and two boys. At this moment, I understood my mother’s carefor the girls because a woman has a lot of responsibility for having a baby, and I didn’t want my daughter to have that responsibility too young. 

 

In 1994, there was a difficult economic situation in Venezuela for a lot of people and I decided with my children to leave the country to look for a safer and better place for everyone’s future. I left as a single mother because I had divorced my husband. 

 

I am a woman with a career in Banking and Advertising. I worked in a bank for 20 years in my country, and I came to this country with nothing. I came with my three children, my daughter, her husband and my two grandchildren. My life started hard just like all the immigrants who come to this country. I went a year without working, I didn’t get anything, nor did I have any contacts. When I got to Miami my son-in-law had a contact in Madison, Wisconsin who told him there was work here and he came first and later we followed. I searched and got a job at a uniform company in Madison. After his 19th birthday, one of my children went back to Venezuela because he couldn’t get used to life in the United States. 

 

I am also a survivor of domestic violence. After three years in Madison, I met a man at work. We started a relationship and lived together. Unfortunately, I was abused in this relationship for 6 years until the worst happened in this abuse one day. After a few days, I went to talk to a pastor in my church, and he recommended I report him and talk to the police. I did, they detained him, and I didn’t know anything about him for ten years. My son and I moved and kept working to start a new life. 


I had the support of DAIS, a service organization for victims of abuse. Whenever I needed to, they helped me to go to court and with a lawyer. I also received support from UNIDOS, an organization that offers talks, resources, and conversations between women for victims of domestic abuse in the Latinx community. I found a psychologist to heal my life and move on. Every person that has suffered domestic abuse should have a psychologist to navigate this trauma. It’s also important to recognize when there is abuse in a home, the children also suffer. For the victim and their children, it’s important to leave these relationships so that they don’t wait for something more serious to happen.

With everything that had happened, for me, it was like I had a mission in life to help others. Someone I met from a presentation for our support group in UNIDOS was working on a program of health promoters for Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin. Her name was Rosario. She called me and asked me if I wanted to be a Health Promoter because since she knew all I had gone through, she told me I could offer a lot of help to the Latinx community. I said yes and started doing the training courses for promoters. My first Home Health Party was in Sun Prairie with the program Manager. I felt helped by her and her support. I felt marvelous to have given that talk. Then I did another one in Santa Maria Church in Madison where I go. We had a large group for seniors and all the promoters did several workshops in different rooms. It was a great teaching moment for me to have the support of the church and the people.

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Consuelo with two other health promoters tabling at a park.

A few years later, there was another group in Janesville in which I did eight Home Health Parties with 15 women that had experiences of domestic abuse. The explanation I gave them about the care and advocacy of reproductive health helped them all a lot. They also asked questions and shared their stories. Since we entered Confianza, each person shared their story, their sorrows, and joys. I also told my story to them. I liked the experience a lot because I could help a lot of women that suffered domestic abuse like I did. 

 

Being a promoter, you learn the story of the others. It is incomparable to be able to learn by connecting with so many people in the community to help them achieve their goals and improve their health.

Consuelo dancing at an event with other health promoters.

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