Women in shelter share their stories with you

English (below in Spanish)


What I remember the most is that the support worker from Maison Marie-Rollet took the time to listen to what I was going through. Although I was presented as the aggressor, in the end, the support worker grasped the dynamic of the violence in which I was living. She took me seriously. This is what I appreciate the most about the resource. I felt that my story was believed. 


Throughout my stay in the House, I was able to share my story with wonderful and strong women, they helped me to settle my legal situation, to settle my situation with the Direction de la protection de la jeunesse (DPJ ) [Director of Youth Protection], and to understand the situation I had experienced. They also supported me morally and psychologically to enable me to confront the reality in front of me. In addition, I was able to share space with beautiful ladies who also arrived at the same time and with whom we shared stories and made friends. I haven’t seen many of them in a long time, but I want to tell you that I carry them in my heart today and always. 


My time at the House was the first step in starting an autonomous, independent life, rediscovering my power as a woman and a mother, freeing this old bond that bound me and giving way to my new life in Quebec. Today I have a job in IT, I speak better French, I live with my son and I have found the strength to start new projects here in Quebec.


Thanks to all of them, the support workers, and companions. I have learned and understood from them all that there are no borders as long as love and confidence in us prevail and thus the courage manifests itself to continue on the path. 




Durante toda mi estadía en la casa pude compartir con estas maravillosas y poderosas mujeres mi historia, ellas me ayudaron a resolver mi situación jurídica, a resolver mi situación con dpj, a entender la situación por la cual había pasado y me apoyaron moral y psicológicamente a confrontar la realidad que tenía en frente. Además pude compartir espacios con hermosas damas que también llegaron en la misma época con las cuales pudimos compartir historias y hacer amistad. A muchas de ellas no las veo hace mucho, pero quiero expresarles que las llevo en mi corazón hoy y siempre. Mi paso por la casa fue el primer paso para empezar una vida autónoma, independiente, retomando mi poder como mujer y como madre, soltando ese viejo lazo que me ataban y dando paso a mi nueva vida en Quebec. Hoy en día tengo un empleo en informática, hablo mejor frances, vivo con mi hijo y encontré la fuerza para empezar nuevos proyectos aqui en Quebec. Gracias a todas ellas, interventoras y compañeras, de todas aprendí y entendí que no hay fronteras mientras que el amor y la confianza en nosotras mismas prevalezca y de esta manera se manifiesta la valentía para continuar el camino.

‘I rediscovered my ‘joie de vivre’ thanks to Maison Marie-Rollet’


For 2 years I lived in a toxic relationship. I was very unhappy because of mistreatment by my ex-husband. He criticized me over and over, the way I spoke, my clothes, my family, the books that I read, the meals I cooked, everything! Everything he loved about me before and found beautiful and extraordinary after the wedding became unbearable, criticism was followed by denigration, then lack of concern then ignorance. He was convinced that the immigrant girl who knew no one in Quebec and who left her whole world, her job and family in her country of origin, his wife who depended on him socially and financially and  whose status was not yet permanent in Quebec, must submit to his orders and obey everything he asked of her.


I lived in total isolation. He would go to work for weeks leaving me alone to carry out his shared custody for him. I realized that I was only a ‘babysitter for his child’ and the idea that I go out to work was his nightmare.  Until the day I received my temporary work permit and found a job and his rage was obvious. From the first week, he started charging me for rent to live in his house, knowing he was making 5 times my salary and had rental income, and that I was paying what he asked which left me with nothing. 


He went from a hurtful, ignorant, and disparaging but generous man to being harassing, threatening, and violent! Yes! He didn’t want me to regain my independence from him and I was supposed to remain his son’s babysitter for land the maid that did everything for life, until the day he threw me out in the middle of winter at 10 p.m. at night during the pandemic because his bed was not made at bed-time! Me, who spent my weekend cleaning his 2-story villa and basement while he was enjoying his day with his son.


That day, the police intervened and I stayed at home because everything was closed and I didn’t know anyone who could accommodate me! I cried for my life! I had to stay with my abuser! I was trying to contact a few community accommodation resources and with the COVID measures at the start of the pandemic I was desperate! The tension eased after this incident, but the pressure to quit my job and the abuse were still there.


I was very unhappy, anxious, I cried day and night and even at work, my private life affected my professional life terribly, until one day my manager decided to call the help resources who put me in contact with Maison Marie-Rollet, who agreed to give me accommodation without hesitation. I was contacted directly by the support worker who took the time to listen to me, analyze the situation, and get back to me with solutions not only to accommodate me but also to resolve my situation in general.


By speaking with the support worker, I found all the answers to my questions! Despite this, the fear and the circle of violence prevented me from following the support worker’s advice immediately, and to my surprise, she was very understanding and continued to call me and check on me. 


The day the doors of my ex closed, the doors of Maison Marie-Rollet were wide open to welcome me into a wonderful human environment, and mutual trust was quickly established between me and the support workers.


It didn’t take long before I found a safe place to stay and the post-care follow-up offered me non-judgmental listening, and resources and information to help me with my divorce and residency status. 


Today, and thanks to the help and assistance of Maison Marie-Rollet and specifically the post-care support workers, I am regaining my balance and my ‘joie de vivre’! 


If I have one piece of advice for someone who is currently experiencing violence, it is to trust the professionals. The results are worth it!



‘My post-care experience at MMR’


I stayed at Maison Marie-Rollet for 2 weeks with my 3 teenagers.  A very welcoming and warm house and staff.  During my stay, the support workers supported me and my children.  It has helped us a lot.


When my stay ended, I was offered the opportunity to have a follow-up from a post-care support worker. I immediately agreed. In fact, I received not only support from a support worker for me, but also from a youth worker. The latter helped me to better understand the impact of violence on my children and to provide me with all the necessary support to support them in their suffering.    And it was fortunate I got this help!  


Two of my children had dropped out of school. Drugs, drinking, talk of suicide were part of their lives… Luckily my youngest stayed motivated at school… I couldn’t cope with all this alone.    Realizing that after twenty years of marriage and 4 children I lived in an environment with domestic violence was difficult to accept.


If you only knew how well these support workers succeeded in opening my eyes, because at times I still doubted that I had experienced such serious violence. They raised my awareness about the types of violence, the effects on the victims, and how to get out of it, while telling me that I had to “give it time!”   After each meeting, I left with more tools in my backpack.


What surprised me most about the support was how well these workers are familiar with the effects of violence on victims and understand the types of violence. I always felt that they were listening to me and, I even felt that my support worker knew more about my experience and how I felt than I did myself. I couldn’t understand myself or feel my emotions. Their respect, empathetic listening, gentleness, and kindness made me feel so welcome and appreciated.  And it was the same with the youth support worker. I received so much love and generosity from these support workers! It felt so good to have them in my life. Without them, and without my resilience and participation, I wouldn’t have done it!  


I also took part in support groups, which allowed me to share my experiences and to see that I was not the only one in such a state of feeling broken inside. We could provide mutual support for each other.


Today, after 5 years, I can say that I feel much better and calmer. I’m not the woman I used to be and I’m proud of it.  


These years of suffering allowed me to discover a world and an environment that I did not know, namely women’s shelters. This made me more sensitive to the cause of women, more human! I can say today that despite all these years of suffering, I feel like I have taken a big leap forward … That we have to keep hoping because eventually the light appears at the end of the tunnel! And when we look back, we can see that this darkness has allowed us to see how soft and comforting this emerging light is!


Finally, I say to all these abused women: ‘Accept the help that is offered to you, you are not alone!’ You have to talk about it in order to free yourself! Rest assured that all the support workers that I have worked with, near and far, are women of the heart, without judgment!


Rebuild and stay the course!


Married for 22 years, 4 children born of a union that I believed would last a lifetime!


But one day, some would say very late, I left with the 3 teenagers still at home. That day was enough! Leaving without telling him anything …


It took me years to realize that my children and I were living in an environment of domestic violence. A violence which is sometimes so underhand and which slowly destroys everyone who is subjected to it. As my daughter said to me, “Daddy was playing with my head!” He made me believe it was me who had a problem.


Once physically out of this unhealthy environment, you have to get out of it psychologically and move on … It’s a long road, full of pitfalls.  As my support worker so rightly said to me, “you have to give it time!” Leave so that you can rebuild and resume a peaceful life. It’s not easy at first, especially when you have children whom you have to support in their pain and suffering, while you yourself are deeply hurt.


When I left, it was like I had become the captain of an unsteady sailboat where communication with my crew was conflicting. I felt like I was ‘dragging’ the passengers on board who would rather have been having fun (drugs, drink, dropping out of school) so that they could forget that they were aboard a pirate ship. I felt they didn’t want to learn to participate in these maneuvers whose objective was to sail to new and calmer horizons.  I tried to help them get over their grief, heal their wounds, restore their confidence, etc. I was hoisting the sails, alone… Oops a sailor in the water… I had to let go of the helm to get the castaway on board and take care of them. I tried to put up a rail around the deck to protect my sailors. But this safeguard was not enough. They fell back into the water. I looked after them as best I could. 


During this time, the sailboat was not sailing, held back by the force of the winds and it seemed to be reversing, pushed by the powerful current coming from the depths of the ocean. I lost heart at times, I wanted to take shelter and give up everything, despite my love for my crew. I felt like I was piloting an old, poorly maintained boat while trying to avoid drifting.


Fortunately, during this long journey, which is not yet over, communications with the land were never broken. God only knows to what extent, I was able to benefit from support, listening, encouragement from support professionals in “navigating” (this violence), and all this so that I would avoid capsizing with my crew.


Over time, and with a lot of love, patience, resilience, and the support of loving and respectful people, the course has been maintained towards a more peaceful and smoother horizon. My children are doing better despite their injuries, which still exist. I hope that over time, if they feel the need, they will accept professional help. What I remember is not being alone on this journey. There are professionals who know how to listen to us, understand the impact of violence and the effects on the victims while respecting our cruising speed. It is thanks to these caring people and to my humility to accept this help that I was able to change my life’s trajectory and that I can cope!


Thank you to the psychosocial support workers who have been there throughout my personal journey! I am very grateful.

“Three billion whys”


The whys of before


Why doesn’t he understand, why doesn’t he listen? 


Why don’t I answer anymore, why do I feel like I’m mute.


Why is he not interested in the children, why is he not participating?


Why can’t I do it, why can’t I make him happy?


Why do I have to answer my children’s questions on my own?


Why do I not deserve someone who supports me and shares the



Why am I the one who has to take a second job?


Why am I the one who has to pay for everything? 


Why do my children ask him to stop shouting?


Why do I recognize myself in this ad, in this couple on a TV show that everyone hates?


The whys of during


Why did I have to ask for help to get to the point of leaving him.


Why did no one tell me that what I was going through was psychological violence?


Why do I have to protect my children from their father?


Why am I the only one speaking up for them?


Why have we come to this? Why did I break my family?


Why is he reacting this way?


Why do I want to go back and find him again? 


Why do I love and hate him so much?


Why can’t I tell people around me that I still love him?


Why do I want to believe it so much? 


Why don’t I have more anger than this? Why am I so angry today?


Why do I find myself here, why couldn’t I manage to do it alone?


Why do I need help, why do I find myself in the shelter?


Why did I let this go on for so long? Why did I let someone take all of me?


Why is the process taking so long? 


Why do I have to repeat my story again?


Why can’t I be rehoused quickly? 


The whys of after


Why didn’t I leave sooner?


Why does it still manage to get to me today? Why does he still think I’m nothing?


Why is he sending me this bomb? Why haven’t I thought of him for a week?


Why do I have to keep seeing him every two weeks? Why is it still my fault?


Why did I like the smile of a man on the street? Why did I finally dream of someone else?


Why did I wait so long to believe in myself?


Why did I dither so long before embarking on this new challenge?


Why does it still keep coming up when all areas of my life are going well?


Why did I give him so much power?


Why do I still have the reaction that I need to protect myself?


Why am I no longer in the dark?


Why didn’t I rely on myself before?


Why did I try so much and for so long? 


Why did I decide to talk about it at work today?


Why am I now managing to have a good circle of friends?


Why rent when I can buy? Will I manage it on my own?


Why did I think I needed him?


Why did I doubt whether I could pay for everything?


Why do my kids look happy and less anxious?


Why do I still have so many unanswered questions, with answers that are not mine?


Why did I find the strength to ask for help and why do I keep doing it?


Because I no longer felt alone, nor misunderstood, judged, or under pressure.