It’s very rare for a woman to be at the right time and place in her life to be able to share her story in this way. But Erica feels strongly about using her voice to help others who may be in need and not know what to do in a relationship involving domestic violence.
Five years ago, Erica turned to the YWCA in Peterborough for safety while ending a violent relationship. Today, she's sharing her story to inspire others to support the services that helped her get her life back.
Read her letter below about how the YWCA helped save her life and give her hope...
A Letter From Erica
"I remember looking at my newborn daughter’s perfect little face moments after she was born, thinking: all you’ll ever know is love. Everything will be different now. This time I can trust him. But I was so wrong.
The abuse that began during my pregnancy only got worse. No one in my family knew about the insults he screamed at me or the things he’d thrown at me when he got upset.
I’d never told anyone that the man who’d promised to love me had grabbed me by the throat until I was gasping for breath.
I can remember crossing the Burlington Skyway on the day we finally left. It was a 3 hour drive to my parents’ place in Ennismore and my body shook the whole way there. I was terrified of what would happen when he found out we weren’t coming back.
That’s when my mom reached out to the YWCA.
My counsellor understood everything that was happening and told me my instincts were right: the most dangerous time for a woman living with abuse is when she tries to leave. She listened to what we’d been through, answered my questions and helped me see my options and all the help available.
For the first time in four years, I was able to breathe and feel safe again.
My parents did everything they could to help. They opened their home and their hearts the moment they learned what was happening. But there were a lot of questions they didn’t have the answers to either, like: What would happen if we contacted the police? Should we get a restraining order? Was it safe to leave the house with my daughter?
The YWCA provided information and practical resources that we could put into action immediately. Their support changed everything! Suddenly we had options, a future. My daughter and I had our lives back!" —by Erica
Do you or someone you know need help? YWCA Counsellors are available around the clock to answer questions, provide support and offer practical resources that help women stay safe and change their lives. YWCA helps women, as well as the people who love them, because abuse affects us all. If you think someone you know or love may be experiencing abuse and want to learn more about how to help, please call 1-800-461-7656 anytime, day or night. You’re not alone.
Learn more about Erica's journey. Watch this powerful video below about how she and her daughter rebuilt their lives after reaching out for help...