West Island Women's Shelter gala helps survivors get back on their feet
Eve found her way to the West Island Women’s Shelter (WIWS) at a point in her life when she needed it most.
The non-profit aims to eliminate conjugal violence and its impact on women and children.
“If I divorced him, he used to tell me that he would leave me in the streets. He would take away my child because I was depressed,” Eve, whose last name is being withheld for safety reasons, told Global News.
“He used to say he will give me no money. I wasn’t working so I was so afraid. Where are you going to go? I cannot go live in the streets because I have a kid.”
Her daughter brought home a pamphlet for the shelter one day, and Eve saw it as a sign.
“You feel like you’re worth nothing, and when you get there [to the shelter], you feel so appreciated,” she told Global News.
“They give you strength to continue and make you realize how strong you are.”
Eve is one of hundreds of women who seek help for themselves and their children from the shelter each year.
“It can be a few days for a break, it can be a few weeks, it can be a few months,” explained Julie, a WIWS counsellor.
“We go with the needs of the family. In our second-stage house, it can go up to 21 months. I can follow a woman for two years if it need be.”
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Demand for help is so high that there is sometimes a wait list.
“Sadly, there is a lot of demand. At one point, there was a nine-month waiting list,” said Beverly, a WIWS board member.
“We need to be able to help these women now.”
To raise money, the shelter is hosting a “Pumps and Pearls” gala at the Château-Vaudreuil Hotel hosted by Global senior anchor Jamie Orchard.
—With files from Global’s Gloria Henriquez