Healing After Abuse

Janice stands inside L’Abri d’espoir
by SalvationArmy.ca

Janice arrived at L’Abri d’espoir more than a year ago. Coming to The Salvation Army’s Montreal women’s shelter, and be where she is today, required lots of determination, support and help.

To escape an abusive relationship, Janice moved to Québec with her daughter as it was the safest place for both at the time. When they arrived in Montreal, her daughter found an apartment, but it was too small for them to live together. While Janice didn’t want her daughter to worry about her, she never thought she would be homeless and without a job. She did what she had to to make sure her daughter wouldn’t have to live on the streets.

“I immediately felt that everything was going be okay”

Janice found out about The Salvation Army’s L’Abri d’espoir in Tracom’s resource kit (Centre d’intervention de crise Tracom).  When she first arrived at L’Abri, she was extremely anxious and cried a lot as she was nervous about the future. “The staff made me feel comfortable in my room, and I immediately felt that everything was going be okay,” she explains.

On her journey to recovery, Janice faced multiple challenges. They were both physical and psychological. Janice suffers from fibromyalgia and paralyzing anxiety.

“L’Abri provided me with food, a bed, comfortable room, access to proper medication, but most importantly a routine and a calm place,” says Janice. “Things I am very thankful for.”

“I can’t remember the last time I felt like this”

When Janice was asked how she felt today after a year at L’Abri, she said she was very content and proud of herself. “I can’t remember the last time I felt like this,” says Janice.

Janice now has a full-time job and is a member of the Brotherhood of Electricians in Québec union. “I can manage now,” says Janice. Being part of the union guarantees her hours, full benefits and the potential to work until she is 69 years old. Staying at L’Abri also allowed her to support her daughter to get her bachelor’s degree in 2019.

Due to Covid-19, Janice works from her room at L’Abri. She says that having a quiet room where she can work whenever she wants while being safe is very important.

L’Abri d’espoir’s long-term program is offered for a maximum stay of two years. It has not been two years since Janice arrived there; however, she is taking the next steps in her recovery. With her social worker’s help, Janice has applied at La maison Marguerite, where she will get her own apartment this coming winter.