What's a mother to do?

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Mothers and daughters treasure doing many things together...but escaping abusive partners should never have to be one of them. Yet, tragically, finding a path out of violence can be one of the life events that mothers and daughters share.

Cindy* is the 46-year-old mother of four. Married for many years to a chronically controlling husband in her home in the Caribbean, Cindy endured the humiliation and pain of nearly every kind of abuse: emotional, financial, physical. But nothing could have been more painful for this mother than learning one of her daughters was being sexually abused by the same man who was abusing her.

One of the tragedies of domestic abuse is the way survivors and children of abused women can become trapped other abusive sitations. During these violent years, Cindy's teenage daughter Tianna* became involved with a young man she imagined would protect her from the violence she had experienced. Instead, he became her abuser.

Terrified for both her daughters, Tianna and Ayanna*, Cindy made a decision to flee with her daughters and seek refuge in Canada. Tianna was by this time expecting a baby, and they were both desperate to stop the cycle of violence before yet another generation was affected.

Soon after arriving in the GTA, Cindy and her daughters heard about Interval House. Without other options to keep them safe, they decided to seek help and shelter with us while they navigated a new country, an unfamiliar job market and the maze of resources available to them.

“It was wonderful,” Cindy says. “They took us on a tour, explained all that Interval House does ... They fed us a good meal and got us settled in…the staff was immediately like family to us.”

Back home, Cindy was a hairdresser. But she has always had a dream of becoming a truck driver. So staff encouraged her to take the two-week BESS program to brush up on her resume-writing, interviewing and other job skills as the first part of her preparation.

Meanwhile, Tianna, now a new mother herself, enrolled in a training program for office administration and Cindy is helping her with child care. When Tianna finishes her course, Cindy will begin her “Women in Transportation” training program at Microskills.

Both mother and daughter have high praise for the preparation and support they are receiving at Interval House. “Ladies with children need help and we don’t know where else to turn,” Cindy shared. “When we come from abuse we are lost, and when we come here the environment is like family.”

Cindy is a mother and now a grandmother…and every one of her family members has been affected and scarred by domestic abuse. But she took the courageous steps to remove all of them from danger and put them on a path to a new life full of hope.

*not their real names