I want to share with you a story about one of our previous Outreach clients “Carol”. Carol got referred to Outreach on the recommendation of her counsellor. This occurred when her doctor recognized that Carol and her husband’s conflict was escalating and that there was a significant power imbalance of him over her. The situation was also having an impact on their four year old son Ethan. Ethan was starting to mimic his Dad’s behaviour by shouting at his mother and calling her names. He was having trouble sleeping at night.
Carol was not used to abusive behaviour as she grew up in a family where there was no violence. Carol was a professional and was well educated and cognitively she knew that she could not withstand the stress and the toll that her partner’s abuse was having on her. Her husband would yell at her, and then withdraw; he would break things and punch holes in the wall. Carol was walking on eggshells and was starting to fear for her and Ethan’s safety. When Carol called Outreach she knew that she herself could give Ethan a safe roof over his head but she also knew that she was taking away the two parent family, that she had grew up in, as well as the ease and the extras that came with two incomes.
Carol met with a worker to develop a safety plan and to strategize a safe exit. She learned that violence can worsen when women try to leave and that she and her son would be at their greatest risk during that time. With the help of an Outreach worker, Carol met with a lawyer through the Family Violence legal clinic so that she could learn her rights. She called her plan “project happiness”. She made a plan to leave within the next couple of months and that is what she did. About a year after she left she sent an email to her outreach worker telling her that she and Ethan were doing very well she also wrote and I quote:
“I appreciate all of your concern, advice and patience. You have helped another women recognize her situation and empowered her to do something about it and for that I thank you”
Names changed to protect privacy.