Nina’s Story

“If you don’t behave, I will have you deported.” Nina’s husband told her after another weekend of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

And by behave, Nina’s husband means she can never say “No”.

Imagine experiencing abuse daily, only to find out seven years later that your husband lied to you and never applied for your immigration sponsorship, and now you are facing deportation?

Nina asked us to share her story with you -her name has been changed.

In 2016, at twenty years old, Nina came to Vancouver from Turkey to visit friends and to check out universities in Canada. While at a dinner party, she met a Canadian man who, as she says, “swept her off her feet.” After a two-week visit, as she planned to return home to Turkey, he pledged his love and asked Nina to stay in Vancouver “for a bit longer.”

So, she did.

Erin's story
“I have never been more scared in my life. Thank you for helping me find safety.”
– Nina

Now her husband said that he had applied to sponsor Nina for immigration status in Canada. With her attention on her marriage and her daughter Nina didn’t think about it again, trusting her husband, who at age 40 had enough resources to support her and now a newborn.

After they were married and during her pregnancy, Nina’s husband became increasingly more abusive, threatening to kill her and attempting to smother her with a pillow in 2019 after her family asked if they could visit.

By 2020, he had become so abusive towards her not just verbally, emotionally, and psychologically but physically as well. And he sexually assaulted her numerous times, including after discovering she had been using contraception to prevent pregnancy. She wasn’t allowed to work to earn her own income, she wasn’t allowed to go to university as she hoped, and she had to serve him and his needs, day, after day, after day.

Nina was trapped in a destructive pattern of coercive control that destroyed her self-esteem and isolated her from friends and family. And she learned that he did not sponsor her, and she was now in Canada illegally without status.

With your dedicated support and generous donations — our team helped Nina leave her abusive husband and helped her access the legal remedies required so she would not be criminalized because of her abusive husband’s attempts to use the Canadian legal system to control her.

Did you know that 80% of women who access our support services are dealing with domestic or sexualized violence AND the law such as family and immigration law?

Therefore, for the past 35 years, we have included legal advocacy as a core part of our support service offerings. This means we’ve created a community of supporters around Nina. People who know that leaving abusive relationships can be very, very complicated. People who won’t give up on her. People like you.

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

Your support makes the work we do possible.

Nina 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.

Every week a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. BWSS is working to change that.