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 shelter.
A woman who needs to flee an abusive partner faces a minefield of obstacles to reach safety. If she has children, the checklist becomes even more overwhelming. Custody order. School transfer. Counselling.
Interval House is here for her. For more than 45 years, we have existed to help women survivors of intimate partner violence and their children. We help create an individualized and comprehensive plan that guides a woman and her children through an incredibly anxious—and dangerous—time of change. Some abusers take control over virtually every aspect of family life. A woman who needs to leave may not have access to a bank account. In fact, her husband may even withhold her ID. For a woman whose status in Canada is tied to her spouse, the prospect of losing her record of citizenship is terrifying.
Often, someone who is being abused is cut off from family and
friends. The isolation makes the prospect of breaking free from violence feel impossible. From the moment we receive each crisis call, Interval House supports the women and children who come to us seeking safety and healing. Our Residential Program helps women work through each item on the list for starting her new life. Your generosity makes a difference for women trapped in the cycle of violence. Just when they have had their dreams of a life filled with love broken, you give them a second chance at happily ever after.
Life After “I Do”
An abuser can often tell when a woman has made up her mind to leave and put an end to the abuse. For her own safety, these are just some of the steps a woman can take to cover her tracks.
- Be discreet. A survivor should not tell an abusive partner she’s thinking of leaving.
- When she does leave, she should take her children with her.
- If there are family pets, a survivor should consider asking a friend to look after them or access the SafePet Programto arrange to have pets fostered for the duration of a shelter stay.
- Plan emergency exits.
- Keep emergency phone numbers readily available at all times.