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The holiday season is a bittersweet time of year for the children at Interval House. They are living in a safe place out of harm’s way, with new friends and newfound freedom to relax and just be kids. But even with the relief of living in a new and safer home, their everyday lives have still been disrupted by the change.
On December 6th, 1989, Mark Lepine entered the École Polytechnique, an engineering school in Montreal, Quebec. He separated the male and female students, made anti-women statements and then opened fire, killing 14 women in total.
14 women were killed simply because they were women.
When a friend or family member confides that they’re being abused—or if you suspect that abuse is happening— it can be overwhelming. You’re worried about your friend’s safety, and you want to help. But it can be difficult to know what to do, while also keeping everyone safe. Do you know what to do?
When survivors of domestic violence leave an abusive relationship, often one of the most challenging things to rebuild is their economic future. Re-entering or seeking employment for the first time after an abusive relationship can be a huge hurdle. There are many barriers to seeking employment for women rebuilding their lives after domestic violence.
While there are many different challenges experienced by individual women, some of the common barriers include:
Tim uses the word “feminist” to describe his wife Julyan, but it’s clear by his actions, that he too has always been a passionate supporter of women’s rights. Throughout their long marriage and respective careers, issues of poverty and equality mattered a great deal. He says they were both raised by philanthropic families who cared a great deal about the public good, and a common thread was the desire to make a difference in other people’s lives.
We try to give children all of the caring and support we can, but how can we protect them from experiencing difficult emotions? Sometimes we must accept that we cannot make them feel better. At the heart of the programming at Interval House—activities that are supported by your donations—are many opportunities for children to relieve stress and re-connect with their moms. These are baby steps on a long journey. And that’s why your support is so crucial.
Celebrating Christmas at Interval House is enough to make you believe in miracles. We know from experience that Christmas can be an especially difficult time for families in crisis. When the holiday season approaches, we start to see an influx of calls and requests for help. The reality is that behind closed doors there are families reaching a breaking point. And there are women who are frightened and need a safe place to turn.
Thanksgiving is the day we give thanks for the harvest and many other blessings in our lives. For the women and children of Interval House, those blessings include a safe home, good food, and an extended family of women who have lived through similar experiences. All of this is made possible through the generous support of our donors and community partners.
One of the most commonly-asked questions concerning domestic violence is “Why doesn’t she just leave?” The reality is, if the solution was as simple as ‘just leaving’, domestic violence wouldn’t be the epidemic that it is. There are many barriers facing women leaving their partners to find a safer place to call home:
Right now, we have four infants under the age of 2 living at Interval House. And this isn’t unusual for us. At any given time, our house is usually full of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers!
It might be hard to think about such young children living in a women’s shelter, having been exposed to domestic violence at a very young age. But for us, it’s an incredibly hopeful sign.