When people visit Kawartha Lakes, they see its natural beauty, clean air, neat farms and pretty towns and villages. Those are all great reasons to live here and to move here. But living in the country or in a small community can make it even harder for women to escape an abusive situation, and for Women’s Resources to help those in need.
If a woman who lives in a city makes the scary decision to flee abuse, she can take a bus, a taxi, or even just walk to a safe place. But if she lives on a side road kilometres from the nearest town and her abuser safeguards the phone, the computer and the car keys, how does she get away?
And if she lives in a small village where everyone knows everyone, and she and her abuser went to the local high school, and she’s not sure if anyone at their church will believe her, is it realistic to expect her to ask for help?
Not only do women in rural areas like ours face all kinds of hardship when they’re thinking about leaving an abusive situation, Women’s Resources also runs into difficulties that similar organizations in bigger cities never have to think about. In Kawartha Lakes, the critical services a woman might need are all centred in Lindsay such as the courts, hospital and counselling, not to mention medical offices and Women’s Resources itself.
Whether they would prefer to stay in their home communities or not, women trying to build a new life find the hurdles of transportation and appointments are often insurmountable. The city of Kawartha Lakes is, of course, not an actual city with neighbourhoods connected by public transportation. That means the best way to serve abused women and their children is to bring them together in a safe space — our Lindsay shelter, Victoria’s.
We can’t be everywhere in our far-flung municipality, but we can do our utmost to support women anywhere in Kawartha Lakes who need our help.
Read our next blog about Amy’s that talks about how we are addressing the need for more accessible services for women and their children fleeing abuse.
If you are experiencing abuse, or want information for someone who is, please call our 24-hour crisis support line at 705-878-3662 or toll-free at 1-800-565-5350. It’s free and completely confidential.
By Nancy Payne