If there is one thing we can all relate to, it’s that we want to belong, to be heard, to be loved.
What if your partner told you that you were worthless? What if you had no one to connect with, no sense of community? What if you lived in a violent home and couldn’t find the words to reach out to someone?
An Immigrant woman experiences family violence in a very unique way. In addition to being disconnected from her culture, she is oftentimes reliant on her abusive partner with no other family in Canada. She has very little support and is not yet familiar with Canadian norms or our way of life. Language barriers or illiteracy issues can cause her to be literally without words to express herself, her fear, or the violence, and she is left in isolation.
60% of the women served in Discovery House’s Residential Program are Immigrants. They come to us with very different stories; every stone in their path to us unique, rich with culture, heritage, religion, and loss.
Many diverse threads make up immigrant communities, small or large, and when a woman severs those ties her world often unravels. When she walks through our doors, loose ends and all, it may be the first time she’s had her own home or has ever felt truly safe. Each woman and child is connected with a case manager and in-home support worker to help them begin their journey of discovering themselves, their worth, and their potential. They build a relationship with one another based on trust so as to provide the opportunity to move beyond the shame she feels for leaving her family, community, and often her religion. This safety and trust is afforded to these women through continuous structure and support offered by our secure facility and hands-on case management model. Most often, Immigrant families are faced with a host of legal issues in a system that is very foreign. The case managers and in-home support workers assist them in navigating these obstacles and help them build life skills that seem basic to you or me; something as simple as setting up a bank account, taking classes, or finding a job.
We make no assumptions, but ask questions to gain an understanding of their culture; we walk alongside each client as allies, advocates, and support.
Violence travels via secrecy and isolation. It is time to break the silence.
Have you acknowledged the violence?
What questions are you asking?
What are you doing to work towards the solution?