20,000 women in B.C. experience domestic violence each year: United Way is there to help

Imagine your life changing in an instant after suffering a devastating brain injury due to an aneurysm. Imagine having to re-learn how to walk, talk, to feed and dress yourself. Months later, when you’re finally discharged from the hospital, imagine you are completely on your own.

This is Bev’s* story.

“I’m so surprised I’m still alive.”

Bev is in her 60s. She had been living in an abusive relationship for years and became socially isolated. So when Bev was strong enough to leave the hospital, her first stop was a safe house, funded by United Way.

“I was so afraid of everything.”

At the safe house, Bev was described as generous, helpful, strong and as someone who never gave up. It’s similar to the way she was described at her previous job. In fact she had been recognized with a “caring and sharing” award after 10 years of service.

Recently, Bev moved into her own cozy apartment. “Return to Health,” another program funded by United Way, sent a volunteer to help get her settled. This service helps isolated and frail seniors transitioning before, during and after hospital stays.

“I didn’t think I deserved a place like this.”

The volunteer, Kate*, helped Bev apply for all kinds of services including financial tools and transportation. Kate became a regular friendly face. The two women got together to go for walks in the community and to practice engaging in conversations. They went to a local seniors centre so Bev could get comfortable meeting people again.

Now Bev goes to knitting and crafts workshops twice a week at the seniors centre — all on her own. She has another social circle with a brain injury group. She goes for lunch with her old workmates. She has regained her confidence.

“I am so grateful. I would not be where I am today without all this help.”

Domestic violence often happens behind closed doors. But the effects are undeniable.

Bev is just one of more than 80,000 lives changed this past year through United Way.

Your gift today will be invested in a network of local organizations and programs for people like Bev to access safe houses and counselling as well as support to enable them to get back on their feet. Every dollar stays local. To donate, please visit uwgv.ca or call (250) 385-6708.

*Bev’s and Kate’s names have been changed to protect their identities.

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