As a WCSWR board member I feel privileged to be in a position to support this critical service in our community.  As a young person growing up in the Kitchener Waterloo area, I was fortunate to have a strong family unit free from violence.  However as I grew into adulthood, abuse and its impact became real to me as I became aware of friends and family members that faced abuse in their own households.  Abuse that came in different shapes and forms but had the same result leaving them and their children isolated and desperate for escape.  Recognizing that these women did not come from a history of family abuse as children, I realized that I was ignorant to the causes and reasons on how woman find themselves in such situations.  So often we stereotype victims as having previous exposure to the challenges they now face as adults.  And this can be the case.  But it is not the full story.  Many women just like you and I, can find ourselves in unexpected situations that when really assessed, is in fact abuse.  Whatever the history, abuse is a crime.  Woman need to know they have options to escape their situation and can create possibilities for the future for themselves and their children.

Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region does just that.  In dealing with the victim’s immediate needs, they also develop strategies for long term change.  Through both Anselma House (Kitchener) and Haven House (Cambridge), women and their children are afforded a safe haven to escape acts of abuse and an opportunity to develop both short and long term plans for their future.  I was fortunate to witness first hand through job shadowing the brilliant services offered to their clients and the real commitment and sincerity of the staff at WCSWR.  Without these residences, many in our community would have nowhere to turn and little choice to improve quality of life.   WCSWR is truly one of the critical links in developing and providing solutions in the fight against abuse.  As a caring community, we can help WCSWR make a difference and can demonstrate to everyone that we all have a responsibility to support and provide solutions for our friends, family and neighbours in the fight against abuse.

Carol Brandt