Each and every person that was involved in this beautiful event, is a part of the essential role we play in the lives of Women and their children throughout Waterloo Region. The funds we receive from the two Tom Cochrane events will be allocated to rebuilding Haven House, our Cambridge shelter.
Research tells us that 1 in 10 women are victims of an abusive relationship. So when you think of all the great women in your life, know that there are women who have or currently are suffering. For those of you who may have no idea about the struggles, I want you to “wonder what it’s like to be in her head”. Think about someone special in your life; whether it is yourself, your daughter, mother, niece, granddaughter, sister, neighbour or friend.
You are 27 years old with 2 children; ages 2 and 6 and have been in the same relationship for 7 years. The abuse started when you were pregnant with your oldest child. You always considered yourself “The Untouchable One” and were beyond shock when the abuse began. You blamed yourself for not being a good wife, not being the most attentive mother, not meeting his every need. The abuse worsened over the years, yet you learned how to hide your scars (both physical and emotional) and still hold your head up high, at least when in public. Each day you felt as though you were “Walking the Fine Line” between the sun and the sky, hoping that you would someone manage to get out alive.
Your best friend knows about the abuse and has repeatedly tried to convince you to leave him; she doesn’t understand your fear; you are so scared. He’s threatened to get custody of the kids and kill the family dog if you ever leave.You know he will find you and then the situation will be even worse. You ask yourself, isn’t there “Another Page” in this book? I want to write just one more page.
It’s a Saturday night and he’s just returned from a night out with the boys. He stumbles in the door and hears the 2 year old crying, this sets him off yet once again and after what seems like forever, the police show up. You assume the neighbours called them. The police officer tells you that there is only “One Way Out” and soon thereafter you and the children open the door, brave the new frontier and walk away from the dark tears. You are not alone,
as the police officer escorts you to Haven House.
The worker at Haven House is very welcoming and makes you feel so at ease…..you are still very scared….especially about your future. The worker reassures you that together you will turn your “Ashes to Diamonds.”
Much to your surprise you learn that you must share a bedroom with another woman, a woman you just met, because the shelter is out of space. Then you find out that you must also share the washroom. The worker tries to explain that the shelter has outgrown its function and is no longer adequate to serve all the abused women and their children in the Cambridge and North Dumfries area. She apologies while telling you that the dining room is too small for all the residents to eat together, therefore you and the children will need to eat in shifts.
All of this is so overwhelming for you.
The worker gets you settled in, offers to make you a cup of tea, gets you a warm quilt, and shows the children the playroom so they have a positive image in their heads as they climb into bed for the night.
You are worried about the family dog, you are bruised and swollen and overall exhaustion sets in. You lie awake for hours and the words that keep going through your mind are “I cannot stand in the line of fire” any longer. I need to be strong, for my children, and get some “Iron in my soul.”
Eventually you fall asleep knowing that your life will never again be the same.
This account of events is our daily reality. Last year at Haven House; we provided shelter services to 185 women and children. Without question, we have outgrown our existing facility and need your help to rebuild Haven House to a 45 bed shelter so that women and children have their own bedrooms and washrooms, so that there is adequate space for residents to eat together, and so that there are ample rooms in which to hold group therapy sessions.
Moreover, we need a new shelter because abused women in Cambridge and North Dumfries deserve it! They deserve a home away from home, where they can be safe and heal and move beyond the abuse and violence in their lives. We have a land site (which will be announced in the upcoming months). Now we need the residents of Cambridge and North Dumfries to own this project, to become engaged in the process as we are here to make our community safer and families healthier.
It is a fact, that for every abused woman “Life is a Highway”. There really is a world outside every darkened door and that world awaits them. Women’s Crisis Services will be here for each of them to help the light come in.
A very special thanks to Tom Cochrane for allowing me the liberty to integrate a few of his phenomenal lyrics into my thanks.
Sincerest thanks for supporting Women’s Crisis Services. We truly believe that together we are able to eradicate violence against women and their children in our community. We cannot be successful without you.
Mary Zilney, CEO
Women’s Crisis Services of Waterloo Region