Every year, 360,000 children watch as their mothers are abused and, in Canada, half of all women will experience at least one incident of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.* The Canadian Women’s Foundation estimates that, on average, every six days, a Canadian woman is killed by her intimate partner. The Royal LePage Shelter Foundation strives to provide these women and children with the resources they need to escape abuse and begin to rebuild their lives after violence.
Shelters are essential to the recovery of any woman or child who has suffered abuse. Given the statistics surrounding domestic violence, finding a safe haven, free from the abuser is paramount. At shelters across the country, abused women and children can find just that. Either out of fear or guilt or both, it is often a struggle for women experiencing abuse to leave the situation that they find themselves in. “Abused women often feel alone,” suggests Shanan Spencer-Brown, executive director of the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, “However, shelters provide a confidential source of support, a place of trust and hope, where women of similar circumstances can come together, share their stories, and relate to one another.”
Of course, the pathway to a new life is not complete once a woman and her children have found the courage to leave their abusive situation. Shelter staff know that the emotional, psychological and physical effects of abuse do not disappear overnight. Therefore, most shelters offer services which help women and children begin to heal after violence. Some of these services include individual counseling, group counseling, parenting skills training, housing referral, employment services, and programs for children who have experienced or witnessed abuse.
Without generous donations from charitable organizations like the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation, which fund the programs and services of shelters, many women and children would go without help. If one considers that nearly half of all women in Canada have or will be exposed to abuse, speaking out is absolutely critical.
Anyone who is experiencing or witnessing abuse is urged to visit the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation website at www.royallepage.ca/shelter or the Canadian Women’s Foundation at www.canadianwomen.org. Break the silence and help put an end to abuse.
*source: Canadian Women’s Foundation (www.canadianwomen.org)