Below is Rose’s Story. She was an immigrant to Canada and her husband was abusive. As you read through the story, you will notice some highlighted words. Click on them to learn more.
My New Life in Canada
I came to Canada a few years ago. I feel very alone in Canada, especially when my husband is mean to me. I miss my family, my friends, and my community back home. Here, I have no one to turn to. Our community is very small and everyone knows each other. I am too ashamed and scared to talk to them about how my husband treats me.
My Husband Treats Me Badly
Sometimes my husband calls me stupid, and makes fun of my English. Sometimes he kicks and punches me. I depend on him for everything. I work with him in his jobs, but I do not have my own money. I have to beg him to buy me things I need, like boots and a winter coat.
A friend in my English class told me about agencies that help immigrant women. She told me that she had talked to a worker there about her husband and how he threatened her, made her feel worthless, and did not give her money. He locked her in the house, and stopped her from calling her parents. She did not know the same was happening to me. The worker in the agency told my friend that these are all forms of abuse, and that this abuse has an effect on her and an effect on the children.
My husband says if I leave our home, he will take the children. I am scared of losing my children. When I cry, he says, “If you don’t like it, I’ll send you back.” I thought he could send me back, but I found out that it is not true: I have rights as a sponsored person.
I Need Help
I heard that Social Services could help me with money. When I phoned and told them I was sponsored and I needed help, they said no. But I didn’t tell them that my husband sometimes beats me. This makes a difference. If you are being abused you can get help from them, even if you are sponsored. I also heard that there are other agencies that help families where there is violence. I thought that maybe if I talked to them I would feel stronger. But it is still hard to think of leaving him.
I told Anna about my husband. She works in an immigrant women’s agency. Anna listened to me and helped me to see I had choices. She helped me make a safety plan in case I want to leave suddenly. She also told me about the Protection Against Family Violence Act. It’s a law that I can use if I am being physically abused or threatened.
The Police Came to Help Me
Sometimes the hitting was so bad that I wanted to call the police, but I was afraid. One day, my husband was so loud — throwing things and hitting me — that the neighbours called the police. When the police came, they told me what the police could do. They can lay charges, remove him from the house, or take me to a safe place. I didn’t want them to lay charges, but it was not up to me. I let the police take the children and me to a shelter for abused women. Even though I am sponsored, I could go there free.
I Worry About My Kids
I talked to a worker at the shelter. I told her how my husband treats me and the things that I am afraid of.
I am afraid my husband will take the children back to my country and I will never see them again. The crisis worker told me about custody.
I am afraid he will use the law against me to accuse me of kidnapping or to send me back to my country. The worker at the shelter said that I could apply for interim custody. You need to do that if you take the children with you.
I Am Scared of His Family
I am afraid that his family will come after me. His family is abusive to me, too. They say that I bring shame to them in our community. I am scared of what they would do to the children or to me. The worker told me how I could ask for protective orders.
The crisis worker also told me about other things such as legal aid and going to court.
I learned a lot from all the people I talked to. I learned about what I need to know and what my choices are. I know that there are things I can do.