Imagine racing out of your home in the middle of the night with your little ones in your arms.
Fearfully fleeing the partner who was supposed to love, respect and cherish you, but has instead abused and hurt you and your children time and time again.
You have nothing but the clothes on your back and the hard-won courage it took to finally leave a toxic relationship that has left you beaten down, questioning yourself, and feeling alone and ashamed.
For many women in our community, this scenario is an all too common reality.
For those with limited options, the Kelowna Women’s Shelter offers safe haven; providing housing, food, clothing, information, and the counseling and support they need, all at no charge.
The shelter has a long history in the community. Its team of dedicated, highly-trained staff have helped thousands of women and children get a fresh start and move towards a future free of abuse since the shelter opened its doors in 1980.
But 35 years later, the problem of violence against women shows no signs of going away.
On average, every six days a woman in Canada is killed by her intimate partner. Between 2004 and 2014, domestic violence claimed the lives of 113 women in British Columbia, an average of 10 women a year.
Violence and abuse drive more than 100,000 women and children out of their homes and into Canadian shelters every year.
Last year, more than 200 of them spent at least one night in the Kelowna Women’s Shelter.
They are our neighbours, our friends, our co-workers. Members of this community who attend school, shop for groceries, attend church and go to work.
If you or someone you know needs help, a safe place to stay or even just someone to talk to, contact the shelter at 250-763-1040.
All services are confidential, and counselling staff are available 24-hours-a-day to do everything from providing a friendly ear to creating a detailed safety plan. Because abuse is never OK, but asking for help is.
The Kelowna Women’s Shelter is a non-profit organization that offers emergency transitional housing, counselling, support and education to women and their children who have experienced abuse.
For more information, or to make a donation, visit kelownawomensshelter.ca or call 250-763-1040.
Women’s shelter landmarks
1980-Kelowna Women’s Shelter opens its doors.
1987-Weekly drop-in support group launches
1990-Supportive counselling and activity program for children, which later becomes Children Who Witness Abuse (CWWA) and later the SuperNOVA program, launches.
1998-Inside/Out Violence Prevention Program for Youth launches as pilot project at two secondary schools. The program now reaches about 400 children a year.
2003-Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store opens.
2008-Shelter purchases and renovates residential property to establish second stage housing facility for single women.