Escaping an abusive relationship

A Summerland woman has agreed to share her story of how she broke free from a 24-year abusive relationship.

Last Thursday evening approximately 80 people gathered in Penticton to take part in a Take Back the Night march, in order to bring attention to violence against women in our society.

Organizing the event was the South Okanagan Victim Assistance Society.

Hundreds of events such as this take place in over 30 countries around the globe, during the month of September.

A Summerland woman has agreed to share her story of how she broke free from a 24-year abusive relationship, in order to offer hope to other women.

As a teen she had fallen in love with a troubled young man with a criminal record.

Her parents had warned her against this relationship, so in order to marry without parental consent the teens eloped.

They were still on their honeymoon the first time he hit her.

This was because she had misread the map and gotten them hopelessly lost. It was to be the first of many violent incidents.

She kept the abuse secret and was too ashamed to tell anyone. He was always sorry after it happened, and promised never to do it again.

He would say he loved her, couldn’t live without her and needed her.

She would always feel sorry for him, and thinking she could help him change, she would forgive him.

The years went by. There were more bad times than good.

Every time she threatened to leave he would tell her that he would find her no matter where she went.

As a result her fear immobilized her and she thought there was no way out. She put on a smile and pretended all was well.

Then one day as he came towards her in a rage, she threatened to call 911.

He stopped cold in his tracks and with an icy stare said if she did that, he would lose his hunting rifles.

He told her he would “kill her, cut her in pieces and dispose of her body” before he would ever risk losing his guns.

In that moment she cracked. It wasn’t because he had threatened to kill her…he had done that before. It was because she realized, that after all she had done for him, his guns meant more to him than she did.

This time she could not turn off the tears.

She fell into a deep depression and went to see her doctor.

That was the first step in a long line of events that led to recovery, safety and a new life.

The doctor referred her to a psychiatrist who helped her to see her role in the relationship as being co-dependant.

Through group therapy she learned to share her story and not be ashamed and to understand that she was not alone.

As she found new strength, her life now seemed to be in even more danger than before.

Her husband, now having lost his control over her, became paranoid and obsessed with the thought that he was losing her.

She soon felt like prey, being stalked and hunted.

A coworker accompanied her to the RCMP in Summerland and it was there that she was informed of her right to apply for a restraining order against her husband and have him removed from the home.

Her medical team supplied her with the number for the transition house in Penticton.

She left her home for one of safety until she was able to appear before the judge and be granted a restraining order.

Her husband was forced to leave and in fact left town all together.

The good news in this woman’s story is that the law no longer looks the other way when it comes to domestic violence. It offers protection and legal clout.

It can be a dangerous time, but women no longer have to stand alone in fear.

Help is available, but one must be brave, speak up and reach out.

The other bit of good news, the subject of this story found happiness once again.

She remarried and lives a peaceful, fulfilling life today.

While her guard will always be up and her memories of bygone days painful, she looks back on the growth and rewards of being brave enough to take back not only the night, but her life as well.

The South Okanagan Women in Need Society helps up to 800 clients each year, to move on with their lives, away from abusive relationships. This included eight from Summerland.

Statistics from the society show the need is increasing. In 2015, there were 2,617 bed stays for women and 1,532 for children, an increase from the 2,450 bed stays for women and 1,014 for children in 2014.

If you need help call them at 250-493-4366 or their crisis line at 1-800-814-2033. The South Okanagan Victims Assistance Society can be reached at 1-888-493-5355.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Steven Brown is running for Penticton city council in the June by-election. (Contributed)
Penticton race director throws hat into city council ring

Steven Brown will run with a focus on small business

Penticton Vees celebrate a goal in their second win to start their season on Saturday night at the SOEC. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)
Penticton Vees head into final weekend tied for first in league

The Vees have two games to take the top spot

Coronavirus 3D illustration. (CDC photo)
Two Summerland businesses closed due to COVID-19

The businesses are listed on the Interior Health website

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Vernon’s ‘support local’ Main Street closure would cost city $24K, staff say

Bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics behind price tag

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

Officials are surveying the streets of Vernon to get a better sense of the issue of homelessness in the city, as part of the province’s point-in-time homeless count for 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Province conducts homeless count in Vernon

It’s the first time Vernon has been included in the provincial homeless count

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Most Read