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Laura’s Story

My story has all the drama of a best-selling novel. I was once told, “you can’t make this stuff up, it’s just too crazy”. I know, I lived it. But the truth is I wasn’t living. Living was a luxury I couldn’t afford. I was in survival mode doing everything I could to hang on in an impossible situation. 

My relationship with Martin was a whirlwind.  We met during our teen years growing up in Ontario and our long history led me to trust him more than I should have.   We built a million-dollar dream home, a very successful business and lived a life of excess and privilege. 

To expand the business, Martin was busy jet-setting across the country, feeding his addictions; getting drunk, popping pills and snorting coke with mistress after mistress while I was home desperately trying to keep all the balls in the air with the business and our children.

The violence started during my first pregnancy, lasting throughout our 6-year relationship and 2 more children.  I cannot count how many holes in the wall were patched or doors and banisters replaced after being kicked in. Consistently, he would be intoxicated, fly into a rage, smash everything in sight and throw things at me.  It was frightening.  At times I would leave with the children and stay with friends or family for a few days, claiming I was stressed out but really it was just to keep us safe.

When we moved out west to Martins’ home province, he became increasingly violent in front of the kids, to the point where my five-year-old son took no notice.  He sat, unflinching, playing on his iPad, as his father tore through the house in yet another violent rampage.  They were all just babies, only 5, 2, and 1. This life couldn’t continue.

Martin and I were not legally married and my name was never added to the business, allowing him to use this means to control me.  He withheld money, used GPS tracking and eventually took away my car, credit cards and phone. He liquidated our personal assets putting it all into the business. The manipulation and constant gaslighting made me question my reality.

The constant verbal abuse eroded my self confidence and ability to trust.  I was afraid to reach out for medical or legal help and felt completely isolated.

Daily he told me I was worthless, useless and crazy, calling me controlling.  I believed every lie he told me and carried the blame and shame for his behaviour until I no longer needed him to tell me I was worthless and stupid, I was telling myself.  The constant verbal abuse eroded my self confidence and ability to trust.  I was afraid to reach out for medical or legal help and felt completely isolated.

After an extremely physically violent incident, I fled back to Ontario with the kids, leaving everything behind.  The abuse intensified. He tried to get a court order to send us back out west, threatening police force.  If I was made to go back, I would have had no choice but to run with my children and go into hiding.

I spent all my personal savings in a 3-year court battle securing custody of our children. Since he lived out of province, it was much easier for him to refuse paying any compensation to me or support for our children. He eventually lost the business to a loan shark and claimed bankruptcy.

A kind woman in the Family Law Information Centre suggested I contact Women’s Resources. I had no idea what they could offer but I was desperate.   Worn out and drained, I walked through the doors of Women’s Resources and was greeted by a vibrant woman with energy that I desperately wanted to bottle and take home.  From that moment on I was enveloped in support – the kind that makes you believe in yourself, the kind that gives you the grace to fall apart and then helps you rebuild stronger than before.

Over the following year my counsellor and I unpacked a lifetime of physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse that happened through past relationships and family members even before my life with Martin.  The trauma we were uncovering was hard to believe.

My children and I were offered support and resources as well as a wonderful place to stay.  At the time, Amy’s Second Stage Housing facility in Fenelon Falls had an apartment available and I gratefully took it.  The rent geared to income was a relief and Women’s Resources counselling programs continued.  It was the first place my family called home, switching from survival mode, we started living again.  Amy’s is currently in transition, moving from Fenelon to Lindsay to offer even more services and supports.

We stayed at Amy’s a year until I was accepted into a college program and secured housing near the school. My counsellor nominated me for an award with a monetary gift attached to it that helped with education expenses. For the first time in a very long time, I was being heard and I was in control.

I will soon be graduating at the top of my class, into a career where I can give back and help others that find themselves in similar situations. The cycle of abuse stops at me, and the future holds nothing but the promise of a better life and endless possibilities for my children.  Thank you Women’s Resources.


Sadly, this pattern of abuse and how Laura lost her self-esteem, confidence and identity, is not an isolated incident, but one that Women’s Resources counsellors see time and time again.  The healing began when Laura received counselling, and nothing can stop her from the life she, and her children, deserve.  Many women, and those identifying as women, are waiting for their chance to leave the abuse behind.

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Questions?  Contact Carolyn Fox – cfox@womensresources.ca – 705-324-7649 Ext 223