“Davorka (fictional name) is 60 years old. For the past 10 years, she has traveled back and forth between Eastern Europe and Canada to visit her son who lived in Quebec. Her son died and Davorka returned to Quebec for the commemoration. That’s when she met a man who seemed very nice. At first, he was honest and charming.
He finally asked her to marry him and she said yes. Before she even realized it, she was alone in the world and he began to be aggressive and violent, taking advantage of the immense distress she was experiencing following the loss of her only son. The way he touched her was violent and painful – he had no tenderness. Davorka was constantly sexually assaulted. He hit her, beat her while she slept, and said offensive and vulgar things, insulting her family and her origins. Meanwhile, Davorka was in touch with her friend Anka. Her husband listened to all their phone conversations. He was very controlling and watched her every move. Anka tried to convince her friend to leave her husband. Davorka did not know about shelters for abused women. She was scared and said she preferred to jump in the St. Lawrence River than seek help.
One day, Davorka had enough and called 911. The police quickly arrived and called Maison Flora Tristan. The counselors found a translator and together, they managed to understand each other. Her arrival at the shelter represented total freedom for Davorka. She was finally able to sleep and rest, both physically and psychically. The workers explained what they would do for her and what she had to do herself. Davorka did not imagine that such an organism existed. All the speakers were kind, competent and professional. They found her a lawyer and took care of her immigration papers, her divorce, her medical card, and so on. They took care of administrative things and provided a lot of help on the human and psychological aspects. They gave her a renewed taste for life.
Davorka carefully keeps in a box all the incentive cards and pamphlets she received during her workshops at the shelter. Her eyes fill with tears as she recalls memories of good times with other women. She says that despite the language barrier, ages and cultures, women understood each other without a word. A look or a smile was all it took. Davorka’s birthday is in summer, but for her now, it’s on a beautiful spring day: the one she arrived at Maison Flora Tristan. Davorka finally feels free and happy. She says she has regained her joie de vivre . She recently obtained her permanent residence.”
True story of a 60-year-old woman in the first stage