A mother’s story of ending domestic violence in her life, for herself and her children
Trigger warning: The following story speaks about domestic violence. If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, Kw’umut Lelum Child and Family Services can provide culturally safe services to support you and your family.
After twelve years of enduring physical, mental and emotional abuse from her intimate partner, a mother from one of Kw’umut Lelum’s nine member Nations retells how she ended the cycle of abuse.
It all started when Jamie* realized she could not give up on her family, and that the violence her children were witnessing was starting to impact them. Through her own experience in foster care, Jamie knew that she wanted to make a change for herself and for her children.
Children who witness domestic violence or are victims of abuse themselves are at serious risk for long-term physical and mental health problems, including depression, anxiety and poor self-esteem. Children who witness violence between parents may also be at greater risk of being violent in their future relationships.
The first step for Jamie was to reach out for help. With support from Kw’umut Lelum, Jamie connected with a treatment program. This was not her first time going to treatment, but she says this time, she felt different. This time, she put in all of her effort and did the work she knew she needed to do to end the cycle of trauma.
While Jamie was in treatment, she learned to educate herself on recognizing the red flags of domestic abuse, to implement boundaries, and to love herself. She says that she learned that some people never change, so she set boundaries on how she expects to be spoken to and treated by the father of her children, who she continues to co-parent with. If he doesn’t respect these boundaries, Jamie says she calmly ends the conversation.
When Jamie returned home from treatment, she says she saw the world in a new way, and that her children could see a difference as well. Although Jamie still experiences hard days with parenting, she feels hope that her children can see the change, and can start to set their own boundaries.
Jamie says she explains to her children that their Dad is healing, so they can learn to set boundaries with him. She says she doesn’t want her kids to repeat the same cycle, and that “There is always a way out. There’s always a light at the end. You just have to put in the work.”
*Name(s) have been changed to protect the identity of the mother who shared her story
Jamie’s Words of Advice
Set your boundaries and stick to them
Teach those around you how you want to be treated
Stay positive in heated moments
Learn to love yourself, when you’re willing and ready
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, Kw’umut Lelum has resources to support members of our nine member Nations.
This includes access to our Wellness team, who can provide culturally safe supports for both women and men. They can also make referrals to programs in the community.
The Child Safety team can also work with the whole family to provide wraparound support for parents and children.
In Nanaimo, the Cedar Woman House offers an emergency shelter for women fleeing violence - 250-591-5580.