Not Always Happily Ever After

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Before her wedding day, a bride-to-be imagines the moment she’s dreamed about. She pores over photos and gathers ideas. She diligently makes to-do lists, crossing items off with satisfaction. Flower arrangements. Seating plan. Dress fittings. She places items on a registry—everything she’ll need for her new life.

Tragically, at some point after the big day, the bride discovers she is trapped in a cycle of violence and finds herself desperately making a list she never imagined. Escape plan. Untraceable cell phone. Emergency shelterRead More

The Broken Bride Registry: not every bride lives happily ever after.

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Wedding Vision

The Dream: A romantic proposal, the perfect dress, floral arrangements, a beautiful home and happily ever after.

The Reality: For some women, their wedding day marks an escalation of abuse. Interval House, Canada’s first shelter for abused women and their children, provides a safe space for women and children and helps them rebuild their lives, free from violence.

A Registry No Bride Should Need

The sad reality is that many women report that abuse escalates as soon as they get married. In this symbolic registry, we imagine the items that a woman trapped in violence might need. Read More

From Impossible to Infinity: Anna’s Story

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Anna* didn’t know what to expect when she walked into Interval House the night her husband’s violence became unbearable.

She’d escaped her house—a place that no longer felt like home—where she had locked herself in a room, climbed out of a window, and ran.

Anna’s husband had been chasing her with a knife, swearing he would kill her. It was the most terrifying event in his escalating violence since their move to Canada. Read More

Q&A with Elona Nazaj, Women’s Counsellor/Advocate

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Your support ensures counsellors like Elona are available 24/7 to women and children in need.

Q: How does your day begin?

A: It depends which shift I’m on, morning, evening, or overnight. All shifts begin with a shift change debrief with other staff. We talk about how things are going, if anything urgent is coming up, new residents, or if anyone has left the shelter. I can then start prioritizing my day based on risk assessments.

Q: How would you describe your job? 

A: The biggest part of my job is active listening, being available for women to vent, cry, share their frustrations or successes. I find out what their needs are and help connect them to services we can provide. I do a lot of advocacy, especially for housing, legal issues such as custody, or for women who do not speak English. We are there for them, every step of the way.

Q: What are the first few days like for women who come to Interval House? 

A: The first few days in the shelter are the hardest because usually women are coming with a very high level of anxiety and stress, which is very understandable. They are confused. They wonder if they made the right choice. But with time, everything becomes more clear and they are able to see things in a different perspective. They find the strength to move forward.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

A: I am honoured when I know that these women are allowing me to be part of their feelings. The way that I can see the positive effect I’m having on my community, along with my coworkers. Just the connection, the empathy that we create with each other, that’s rewarding. The women talk about their frustrations, they talk about their lives, they talk about what they went through, and it’s not easy. It’s not easy to trust. I really appreciate it.

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