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Women's Stories

Olivia's Story

I remember when I first met Olivia. She opened up slowly with us, sharing her story quietly, nervously. She spoke of her happiness as a newlywed. The comfort she took in feeling that she had someone who was going to take care of her forever. Jon had a short temper, but he always told her she was beautiful and that he wanted her for himself. But, soon after they were married, Jon no longer called her "beautiful". Instead, she was "stupid" and "ungrateful". She couldn't do anything right to please Jon.

When they started a family, it only became worse. Jon would get so fed up that he would leave for days at a time, leaving Olivia with no money for milk or baby food. Olivia would beg Jon to stay with her and their baby son, but he would push her away and storm out.

One day, when Jon had returned after a six day absence, Olivia made a special dinner for him. Maybe, if I can do just one thing right, she thought, he won't leave me again. But as she poured him a drink, she accidentally spilled water on Jon. Jon flew into a rage, pushing her away from him and throwing the glass at her. She fell to the floor as Jon screamed at her for being so stupid and clumsy. As he left the table, he kicked her.

Fearing for their safety, Olivia and her son slipped out quietly that night and went to a friend's home. Her friend encouraged her to call Scarborough Women's Centre the next day. Olivia found a friendly voice at the other end of the phone. Our staff worked with Olivia as she got social assistance and found a local food bank. They spoke to her about the Centre's counselling services and Olivia began to meet with the Counsellor on a weekly basis for several months.

Olivia began to heal physically and emotionally. She attended the Building Self Esteem course at the Centre and other workshops on problem-solving, communication, and goal-setting. She met other women and realized she wasn't alone.

Now, with the help of Scarborough Women's Centre, Olivia is back in school studying Early Childhood Education, supporting her son independently.

But sadly not all women are as lucky.

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© Scarborough Women's Centre
2100 Ellesmere Road., Suite 245
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M1H 3B7
Charity No. 10795-9660-RR0001