Once a woman leaves her abuser, it is critical that we provide enough support to ensure her safety (and the safety of her children and pets). It can be incredibly dangerous and isolating for a woman to leave her abusive relationship – but it is possible, especially if we work together to put a safety plan in place. To ensure that our clients have a safe place to heal and collect, we provide emergency shelter and emotional support at SAGE Transition House and at our 2nd Stage Housing units (Hope’s Place and Janet’s Place) . Here is Sarah’s story of surviving gender-based violence, along with her experience at Hope’s Place.
I and my 2 children are current residents of HOPE’s Place, and hope and safety are what we now have. Living in an extremely abusive situation led Child Protection and the police to my door. I was told I had to take my children and leave or my kids would no longer be in my custody. Before this I was living in despair and felt there was no way out. My daughter had to go stay at a friends and I had no option but to take my baby boy and go to my parent’s house. I missed my daughter terribly and was forced to live in yet another abusive situation, as my father is a very abusive man.
Child Protection had assigned me a support worker who arranged an interview for possible living at HOPE’s Place. To my surprise someone was just moving out and I was able to be the next tenant! I cannot express in words the gratitude I have that we are living here. Every day I look around and thank God that we’re here. The girls at North Shore Crisis Services have been so helpful in assisting me in all areas of my new life. My kids are thriving and my life feels well worth living now. My new strength also has encouraged my mom to leave my dad and her abusive situation – the ‘ripple effect’.
Before I was depressed and living in isolation. Now I get out to playgroups with my son and have real friends. My teenage daughter is on the honour roll at school and sees a counsellor. We love our home and it is filled with love instead of the fear and despair we lived in. I pray that this program will continue to change women’s lives and let them know there is ‘hope’ for a better life. We deserve to feel loved and safe.
*Sarah is a pseudonym. We changed our clients’ names in media to protect their privacy. We share their stories to inspire hope and action.
Are you seeking financial support for rent on the North Shore, emergency shelter, or 2nd stage housing? Call our Women’s 24-Hour Support Line at 604-987-3374. You may also email Shona Johnston, Homeless Prevention Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact SAGE Transition House directly at email@example.com.