Safe at Last – One Family’s Story

As the taxi rolled up and Norine hurried her belongings to the door, she knew in her heart this was it. Norine had been a devoted and loving wife in a 12-year marriage, during which she had courageously endured abuse from her husband in the hopes of keeping her family together. Now she found herself and her children leaving the comfort of their home to seek safe refuge in a women’s shelter. This was not the first time they had tried to leave, but she was determined it would be the last.

Norine had travelled from Jamaica to Canada in 1996, after having met and married her husband. Norine had many hopes and dreams of making a better life for herself and her two children. Through incredible determination she was able to enrol in school and began to turn these dreams into reality. It was during this time that Norine experienced such tremendous isolation and debilitating abuse that she fell into an extremely depressed state, jeopardizing her attempts to reach her goals.

Norine had been a very personable and valued member of her spiritual community, and it soon became apparent that she needed help. It was through her community that she was linked to the resources that could help her. Shortly thereafter, Norine and her children came to Yorktown Shelter for Women, where they received guidance and support. However, like so many women who believe in commitment to marriage and the promises of change, Norine decided to return home to give the relationship another try. Sadly, little had changed and abuse remained her reality.

Norine’s shelter experience had helped her to face certain realities of domestic abuse, but her ultimate “A-HA” moment was reflected in the eyes of her child, when one day she saw the same abusive behaviour of her husband re-enacted by one of her children. At this insightful moment Norine came to the difficult realization that her hopes for positive change for her family would not come from transforming her husband’s behaviour, but rather her own. With undeniable courage, Norine packed their belongings one more time, vowing to herself that this would be the beginning of a new life for her family. Norine and her children returned to Yorktown Shelter to receive the support they needed to find their own home where they now live peacefully, free from the presence of abuse.