So we want to tell you a story about a HERO. Her name is Mandy… actually it’s not really Mandy. We have changed “Mandy’s” name to protect her identity. Mandy was a victim of domestic violence at the hands of her now ex-husband.
We want to tell you more about Mandy and her story… we will get back to that in a moment….
Domestic Violence is a topic many are uncomfortable talking about. We want to change that, so let’s start talking. Here are some facts about Domestic Violence we found via the Ministry of the Status of Women.
- Spousal violence has been consistently identified as one of the most common forms of violence against women in Canada
- The majority of spousal violence victims are women, representing 83% of all victims4 in 10 women victimized by their spouse report being physically injured
- Children are more likely to witness violence when the spousal victim is female
- Over 1 in 10 women report experiencing spousal violence while pregnant
- The average woman will make up to five attempts to leave her abuser before ending the relationship permanently
We could share hundreds of facts & stats about Domestic Violence…..but we will keep it to a minimum. Here is something more interesting! There was an article that came out recently about Beauty Professionals being trained to identify clients that are suffering from abuse.
These are professionals such as hair stylists, estheticians and nail technicians! “If they know how to recognize the signs and they’re familiar with the referral agencies in their local area, and they know how to offer supportive response and connect a client who is experiencing violence to services, that is going to have a large impact.”
So what does this tell us? This tells us that many victims of Domestic Violence are have a very hard time coming forward to report abuse and get the support they need.
That brings us back to “Mandy”! Mandy is in her early thirties with a young daughter, let’s call her daughter “Sonya” (that’s not her real name…but you know the drill). Domestic violence had been a part of Mandy’s life since before Sonya was even born but Mandy didn’t really recognize it as “abuse” at the time.
Her now ex-husband “Derek” was very loving and sweet at times, especially at the beginning of the relationship. Derek over time started regularly putting Mandy down and acting as if he owned her… dominated all conversations…and also acted as if he was superior to everyone else. His controlling behavior became worse with time. The more controlling and demeaning Derek became…the more shame Mandy felt.
The abuse continued and got worse once their daughter Sonya was born. Mandy was severely isolated as both she and Sonya were not allowed to leave the home due to Derek’s orders. The mental abuse eventually progressed into physical violence and it was becoming difficult to hide the emotional and physical scars.
Mandy did not have any support or knowledge of any resources available to her or her daughter. Mandy knew she had to do something…she knew she had to get Sonya and herself to a safe place. How was she going to do it? Mandy had no family around…she was fairly new to Canada and English was her second language…she had no employment or work experience…. she didn’t even have the confidence to ride the local bus.
And then…. one day Mandy became a HERO! She decided to do something… She saved herself and her daughter Sonya… and she did it with your help!
There is so much more to Mandy ‘s story, and we can’t wait to tell it to you.
But first…we are curious about something. We KNOW Mandy isn’t the only HERO out there. We would like to start collecting some stats and data of our own here at Options Community Services. Don’t worry; this will be easy…. We simply have one question for you.
Do you personally know a HERO like Mandy? Or maybe you ARE a HERO just like Mandy. All you need to do is say YES or NO. That’s it! Help us count the HERO’S!
Mandy took that first big step of reaching out to us here at Options and was able to gain confidential, safe, temporary shelter for herself and her daughter Sonya at our Virginia Sam Transition House. Over a six-week period Mandy showed an increase in confidence and self-esteem. Our Quick Response Program worked directly with Mandy on her goals:
- Find permanent housing
- Get her finances in order
- Be introduced to Canadian culture, policies and laws.
Information education was provided to Mandy to apply for income assistance and the Child Care Tax Benefit so that she had income and could afford living on her own. At first, Mandy indicated that she was afraid to live on her own. Through encouragement and self-esteem exercises Mandy began to speak up for what she needed and wanted. She was assisted with securing a basement suite and connected to many community resources. Emotional support was provided to both Mandy and Sonya to ensure success.
After Mandy’s six-week connection with our Quick Response Program she was connected to our Settlement Program where she got extra support through the Women’s Empowerment Group and English Classes. Mandy was eager to learn and wanted to work! At first she was afraid to use local transit as she had never used it before, but needed to in order to attend classes, attend appointments and find employment. Mandy was accompanied the first few times to reduce her anxiety level and was then encouraged and empowered to access transit on her own.
Mandy stated that she is extremely thankful that Options Community Services came into her life at the right time! She is now confident and feels empowered to live her life as single parent and ensure her daughter has a stable and safe environment. Mandy truly is a HERO!
Thanks to you…Mandy’s story has a happy ending! Taking time to read this story, spending the few seconds it takes to share it with others and familiarizing yourself with the programs we offer here at Options Community Services has a HUGE impact! It’s an impact that ultimately makes you a HERO too.
Sign up for our newsletter below… We want to tell you about someone that took that HERO roll to a new level!
PS. It's not just Mandy who is a hero. Any woman who is faced with domestic violence and the impossible choices in front of her is a hero in our books.