When homelessness is the only means of escaping violence

2021 was a year marked by acts of terrible conjugal violence.

Too many women – mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, colleagues, neighbours – were killed. Too many women are no longer here to see their children grow up. No longer here to share a laugh with a friend. No longer here to hug their parents at Christmas time. No longer here, period. It’s unacceptable.

When the solution of last resort is not really a solution at all

Often left with no other alternative, women in violent relationships run for their lives to escape their tormentor and spare their children from experiencing irreparable trauma.

Some end up taking refuge in the anonymity of the streets, in the belief that they are saving their lives. They tear themselves away from their homes and families because their situation has become unbearable and leave everything behind just to survive. Sadly, in the end, and with terrible consequences, they end up slowly dying of homelessness.

These women have been broken, as much by words as by blows. They end-up being swallowed-up by the streets and becoming invisible, like ghosts, to the rest of society.

Because how many of us really see these homeless women wandering our streets and sharing our sidewalks – women who are physically alive but emotionally dead?  

At La rue des Femmes, we open our doors, our arms, and our hearts to these women every day, without judgement, and offer them a place in which to take refuge and rebuild themselves.

Conjugal violence is everyone’s business

Every single one of our participants at La rue des Femmes has been the victim of conjugal violence in one way or another.

Violence against women – against any and all  women – is everyone’s business, as is homelessness.

Our society must be made safer for all. For them.

Léonie Couture, C.M., C.Q.
Founder and President, La rue des Femmes