MaryAnne’s Story

Mary-Anne’s husband was arrested for assault and was released on the same day.

Even though he has been violent before, this was the first time the police were involved.

With him released from police custody she was very worried about his retaliation, so she called our crisis line.

You know what a lifeline our 24/7 crisis line is.

BWSS survivor story MaryAnne

For all of their seven-year marriage, Mary-Anne’s husband told her no one else would ever want her, that she was lucky he married her, even with his violence.

And this is a big part of what kept Mary-Anne ensnared: as a “Sixties Scoop” individual, Mary-Anne was terrified of her husband but also terrified of being alone.

Mary-Anne was scooped away from her mother as a toddler. Like many Indigenous children, Mary-Anne bounced from foster home to foster home to foster home when at 18 years old she aged out of the child protection system…alone. Making her violent marriage the only family Mary-Anne has ever known.

So, with that one crisis call, we set out to help Mary-Anne be safe, to take back her power from her violent husband, to find her voice AND to heal from the past.

With your steadfast support, with your big-hearted donations, in tandem with our 24/7 crisis line, we have an Indigenous Women’s Program.

The Indigenous Women’s Program is a team of Indigenous women who develop and implement cultural, recreational, social, and educational activities.

The team provides crisis intervention, support groups and counselling for women around trauma, cultural and social isolation, and domestic and sexualized violence.

The team provides victim, legal and housing advocacy for women navigating the housing crisis, and family, criminal and child protection law.

And Wildflower Women of Turtle Island Drum Group, which is a hand drum group, where women like Mary-Anne, heal from the past, find their voice and stand strong in their power through drumming and singing songs, some songs that are older than Canada.

Wildflower Women of Turtle Island Drum Group

The technical term for this is “culturally-safe programming.”

The legacy of residential schools includes a generation of children who were scooped up by the system.

Women who were part of the Sixties Scoop struggle with the fact they do not have family. This is how some women get emotionally trapped in violent relationships.

The horrible truth is that making up less than 5% of Canada’s population, Indigenous women make up 16% of women killed in 2021.

Despite their higher risk of being killed by a boyfriend or husband, Indigenous women and girls are also often killed by male acquaintances and strangers.

Which is why we stay on the frontline for all women including Indigenous women and girls.

And your gift today will help keep us on the frontline providing culturally safe services and advocacy for women like Mary-Anne.

Your donation of $50, $100, or whatever you can give will keep the 24/7 crisis line open and the Indigenous Women’s Program staffed. You may even like to make a small monthly donation to help all year round. Whichever way you give, you’ll be funding dedicated workers who are Mary-Anne’s community of support. And you’ll keep BWSS advocating for women living with domestic, intimate partner, and sexualized violence.

I know that none of us likes to look at Canada’s legacy of residential schools and Sixties Scoop. It’s disturbing, it’s painful, and we often feel unsure of how we can help.

But the very best thing we can do is to stand in our power and use our voice.

Please, keep supporting Battered Women’s Support Services — and we will be there to help women like Mary-Anne, on your behalf.

It takes everything we've got to be free from violence

Your support makes the work we do possible.

MarAnne is not the first woman we have seen in this situation and she won’t be the last. Our work is to play a crucial role in preventing the progression of the violence, but also to empower survivors and to provide individually planned support.

On average, every 48 hours, a woman is killed in Canada by her intimate partner