Survivor Stories

We are passionate about ending violence against women and girls in our lifetime. Here are some stories from survivors and volunteers.

Julia’s Story

I still remember the day that I first met Julia. She was just 15 years old when a social worker brought her into our office. She was in care, the child of an abusive father. Now she was in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. And, she was pregnant. Desperate to find specialized support for Julia as she approached motherhood, I am just so grateful that her social worker turned to us.

We met with Julia and listened to her. She told us how conflicted she was – how she still loved her abusive boyfriend because it was the first time she ever felt like anyone cared for her. But we cared for her.

Today, Julia is the proud mother of a beautiful baby girl. She has left her boyfriend. She comes to counselling with us whenever she needs to.

Julia’s path is not easy though. She will soon age out of care, which means that she will be left on her own except for us – the counsellors and social workers at Battered Women’s Support Services.

“Julia’s path is not easy though. She will soon age out of care, which means that she will be left on her own except for us – the counsellors and social workers at Battered Women’s Support Services.”
“Julia’s path is not easy though. She will soon age out of care, which means that she will be left on her own except for us – the counsellors and social workers at Battered Women’s Support Services.”

Julia’s Story

I still remember the day that I first met Julia. She was just 15 years old when a social worker brought her into our office. She was in care, the child of an abusive father. Now she was in a relationship with an abusive boyfriend. And, she was pregnant. Desperate to find specialized support for Julia as she approached motherhood, I am just so grateful that her social worker turned to us.

We met with Julia and listened to her. She told us how conflicted she was – how she still loved her abusive boyfriend because it was the first time she ever felt like anyone cared for her. But we cared for her.

Today, Julia is the proud mother of a beautiful baby girl. She has left her boyfriend. She comes to counselling with us whenever she needs to.

Julia’s path is not easy though. She will soon age out of care, which means that she will be left on her own except for us – the counsellors and social workers at Battered Women’s Support Services.

“I support BWSS because I support the work they do to liberate women and girls from violence. I have spent the last 14 years working and volunteering for various women’s organizations, but none is like BWSS.
The women that work and volunteer here truly stand by their mission, creating at atmosphere of inclusion and diversity for all women.
It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to fundraise for such an incredible organization!”
– Patricia Massy

Sara’s Story

Imagine leaving your home far away and arriving as a new immigrant in Canada, with just your husband and two children. You know few people. You have no family or friends. No one to turn to. And now imagine that your husband is abusing you.

Imagine how trapped you would feel. How isolated and lonely. And how terrified for your own children. The only person you know in your new home is the one person you fear the most. That’s what happened to Sara. When Sara came to see us, she had few social or family supports. She didn’t know where else to turn, or who to talk to. The first thing our support worker did was to give Sara a space where she could talk and be heard. That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But she hadn’t been heard in so long.

Sara didn’t know that there were places where she and her children could go to escape her husband. We helped her fill out housing applications and join our employment program.

Most of all, in our support worker, Sara found an ally, who worked alongside her as she gained back her own personal power, and found her long-silenced voice.

“Sara found an ally in our support worker who worked alongside her as she gained back her own personal power, and found her long-silenced voice.”
“Sara found an ally in our support worker who worked alongside her as she gained back her own personal power, and found her long-silenced voice.”

Sara’s Story

Imagine leaving your home far away and arriving as a new immigrant in Canada, with just your husband and two children. You know few people. You have no family or friends. No one to turn to. And now imagine that your husband is abusing you.

Imagine how trapped you would feel. How isolated and lonely. And how terrified for your own children. The only person you know in your new home is the one person you fear the most. That’s what happened to Sara. When Sara came to see us, she had few social or family supports. She didn’t know where else to turn, or who to talk to. The first thing our support worker did was to give Sara a space where she could talk and be heard. That sounds so simple, doesn’t it? But she hadn’t been heard in so long.

Sara didn’t know that there were places where she and her children could go to escape her husband. We helped her fill out housing applications and join our employment program.

Most of all, in our support worker, Sara found an ally, who worked alongside her as she gained back her own personal power, and found her long-silenced voice.

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Linda’s Story

It was a particularly busy day at our office when I first met Linda. She had fled a horribly abusive husband and now was sitting on the couch in our support group room drinking a cup of tea. She had been with her husband for ten years. She had left him previously and this time she vowed was the last. But she was terrified. “He told me that if I ever tried to leave him again, he would track me down and kill me.” Linda said in a quiet soft voice.

And, she was right to be afraid because her husband fit most of the criteria for the capacity to do more violence to her including lethal violence. Desperate to leave for good this time in spite of the risk, Linda called BWSS crisis line and then came to our office.

We met with Linda and listened to her. She told us how dangerous he was and how horrible it was to know that the man she loved was the person she feared the most. She spoke of how it wasn’t always so bad, that it didn’t start out that way. She told us how that over time his possessiveness increased, how he would control her every move, how he isolated her by making her give up her friends and her family. And how he made her lose her employment, a job she loved. She never thought anyone would believe her. But we believe her. And I know that you do too.

Linda is safe today. She has relocated to another community and is thriving.

She has regained employment that she loves. She has a new partner and they “are going slow”. When you’ve gone through what Linda has gone through it isn’t easy to trust again. Linda showed up at a community event we hosted recently. It was so good to see her.

“Linda’s path has not been an easy one. But Linda will not be left alone – we will always have her back. Because safety changes everything.”
“Linda’s path has not been an easy one. But Linda will not be left alone – we will always have her back. Because safety changes everything.”

Linda’s Story

It was a particularly busy day at our office when I first met Linda. She had fled a horribly abusive husband and now was sitting on the couch in our support group room drinking a cup of tea.
She had been with her husband for ten years. She had left him previously and this time she vowed was the last. But she was terrified. “He told me that if I ever tried to leave him again, he would track me down and kill me.” Linda said in a quiet soft voice.

And, she was right to be afraid because her husband fit most of the criteria for the capacity to do more violence to her including lethal violence. Desperate to leave for good this time in spite of the risk, Linda called BWSS crisis line and then came to our office.

We met with Linda and listened to her. She told us how dangerous he was and how horrible it was to know that the man she loved was the person she feared the most. She spoke of how it wasn’t always so bad, that it didn’t start out that way. She told us how that over time his possessiveness increased, how he would control her every move, how he isolated her by making her give up her friends and her family. And how he made her lose her employment, a job she loved. She never thought anyone would believe her. But we believe her. And I know that you do too.

Linda is safe today. She has relocated to another community and is thriving. She has regained employment that she loves. She has a new partner and they “are going slow”. When you’ve gone through what Linda has gone through it isn’t easy to trust again. Linda showed up at a community event we hosted recently. It was so good to see her.

Linda’s path has not been an easy one. But Linda will not be left alone – we will always have her back. Because safety changes everything.

“When I was younger my mom needed help but there weren’t any programs like this available in our small community because of the lack of leadership and funding.
The work that BWSS does has helped so many women and girls like my mom and they should be supported.
– Jessica (Youth Ending Violence volunteer)
Every week a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. BWSS is working to change that.