I truly believe that we can make a difference in our community – @VictoriaLocke1 | #12Days4Good

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I truly believe that we can make a difference in our community. I have been volunteering and helping raise funds for groups in our community for years with my main focus for 2015 and 2016 with Women’s Crisis Services and the Rebuild Haven House Campaign.

It shocks me that there continues to be an incredible need for WCS’s shelters and services. I want to share a few points that I’ve learned through volunteering with WCS about their shelters and services that really impacted me.

I’m calling them shelters but interestingly enough I heard Chief Bryan Larkin says we should be calling them transformational homes. He said that the women and children they drop off to WCS in the middle of the night aren’t the same people who leave the shelters weeks later ready to start a new life. So much more goes on than emergency sheltering. These individuals receive tremendous support in the form of counselling and training in order for them to go on, moving past a life with violence and abuse.  

The women who go into the shelters are incredibly courageous.  It takes a tremendous amount of courage to step forward and say you need shelter and support.  Really consider what it means for a woman to leave….first of all there is the issue of her own personal safety and the safety of her children as her abuser often says what terrible things can happen if she leaves. These threats made are very real. I learned that women who have a pet stay longer with an abuser because of the threats made about what they’ll do to the pet if they leave. And then there is the financial piece. Abuse often extends to financial control and the women leave without anything. That is a terrifying thought especially when you have children to care for. Then there is the privacy issue – women go to great lengths to hide the abuse from family, friends and employers. You can see how leaving and taking a bold leap into the “unknown” is frightening.   It takes an incredible act of courage to get yourself to the shelter, start over, and begin your new life.  

When people hear “Women’s Crisis Services” they often only think about the women who come through the shelters but, we can’t forget about the children.  WCS sees over 200 children coming through their shelters each year.  That’s 200 plus kids, IN OUR OWN BACKYARD, who are living in a home with violence and abuse. And that’s only the 200 kids that they see.  There are more, and we can do something about this and help them.   

Children desperately need the counselling and support offered at the shelters.   We know that children mirror behaviour. It is essentially how they learn.  When they live in a home with violence and abuse they know no other “norm”. That is what family life looks like. That’s what a relationship looks like. That is how people behave with each other.  Even beyond the physical safety for these children we know the incredibly harmful exposure to this behaviour.  These children learn this behaviour and take it to school, to their friendships and relationships and to their jobs when they are older. Through counselling they can break the patterns of abuse that runs through generations of families.  By working with a child today in one of the shelters, they’re helping generations of families to come. I believe that it is that powerful and it is that transformational.

by Victoria Locke

Victoria is today’s featured Do Gooder. You can learn more about Victoria and follow her good deeds www.12Days4Good.com

 

Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. #Inclusion #12Days4Good << TWEET THIS

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