To the editor: Refugees and other immigrants often flee their countries with their children, and maybe their spouses, with not much more than the clothes on their backs.

They end up in new places with little to no money or possessions, often don’t speak the language, and some suffer from domestic violence and abuse. These victims don't seek help because their partners threaten that they’ll be sent back to their unsafe country, to a fate (they think) is worse than the abuse. Can you imagine the isolation, fear and sadness that comes with having to make the decision between being sent back to an unsafe country to die or to die by the hands of your partner?

I am not being dramatic. Many immigrants across Berkshire County (and the world) share these same emotions in an all too familiar situation. As a Cambodian refugee, it is important for me and my family to raise money for the Elizabeth Freeman Center so they can continue to serve the more than 3,000 people in Berkshire County affected by domestic violence and abuse. The Freeman Center’s efforts to keep our community safe from domestic, sexual and dating violence are unparalleled. We have been busier than ever since the pandemic, providing free emergency services, shelter, counseling and a 24/7 support hotline.

Although this is not my personal story, it is the story of many refugees and immigrants living in Berkshire County. For the 10th year in a row, my family and I will walk for those who have died alone by the hands of their partners from domestic violence. We walk for those who feel stuck in abusive relationships. We walk because we want you to know that your safety and health matters. You matter. Please come out and show your support by joining us in any and all of the walks you are able to. To date, Rise Together has raised just over $104,000 toward our $125,000 goal. The financial needs are increasing because the violence continues to escalate in both frequency and severity, so every dollar helps. Please donate today if you’re able: p2p.onecause.com/risetogether.

Sopheap Nhim, Pittsfield

The writer is an Elizabeth Freeman Center board member.