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Women of Courage: ‘Allison’

Mission Services’ Violence Against Women shelter, Inasmuch House, is marking 50 years of service to women and children making a new start in life. To commemorate we are sharing three stories of courageous women who are learning to heal and start new lives today. This is ‘Allison’s story.

Allison is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River. She has come to Inasmuch House to flee an abuser on two separate occasions, attesting to the high rate of violence and abuse that First Nations women in Canada experience. Her picture is not being shared to protect her identity from her abusers, and at her request her name has been changed for this article. The rest of the article is told in her words.

I came to Inasmuch House ten years ago when my husband was hitting me. I stayed for three months and decided to leave him. With the help of the staff at Inasmuch House I found affordable housing – something that has become very difficult to find nowadays.

Now I am experiencing family violence. It’s been one year since my amputation, which resulted from diabetes complications, and this person in my family has been physically and psychologically abusing me so I simply had to leave.

I don’t know where to go anymore. I’m on a waitlist for affordable family housing, but it is
taking a long time to find something that is also accessible. Sometimes the unit is accessible, but it’s on the third story of a building without elevators. Having an amputation is such a mental process to go through. Adding trouble finding housing on top of it is like a nightmare.

But the staff at Inasmuch House are great. They are always ready to find a solution. The Child and Youth staff are really amazing. They are helping my son learn to cope with his anxiety and he is starting to open up to them quite a bit. They’ve also helped me support him with his anxiety. I always try to tell the staff that they’ve really helped someone here

My son has the biggest heart. He wants to be a pastor for men and women serving in the forces. I believe it’s what God meant him to do since he has such a drive for it. The little kids always ask where he is because he plays with them and gives them attention. He’s made lots of friends here, and I have too.

Things would be so much harder if this shelter didn’t exist. I don’t even know how to thank people who donate. When you come here, and see the donated quilts, or personal care items, you know that someone cares. You feel blessed.

Now, all I hope for is a safe home for me and my son. He is going to be so productive in life – I don’t want my experience to hold him back.”