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If I speak up it doesn't control me any more. There's help. There’s a way out

Christina has survived a lifetime of violence. Through her work with Surrey Women’s Centre she has develop the clarity she needed to move beyond this violence and the strength she needed to heal.

“There’s been extreme abuse and violence during my entire life, and because I was so young, I wasn’t believed.” Christina survived the violence committed against her with little support. “It taught me at a very, very young age to deal with stuff myself. To not ever reach out for help.” Before coming to Surrey Women’s Centre, Christina often hid her needs and feelings from others. “I had to get out of that. It took a leap of faith to open up”.

When Christina walked through our doors, it was her last resort. “It just seemed like there was no way out. Coming to Surrey Women’s Centre gave me that hope that there was a way out of that cycle, and that was the first stage to all of that shifting and changing.”

The first person Christina met at Surrey Women’s Centre was Ogake, Crisis Team Leader. When asked why Ogake’s support was so important to her, Christina’s answer is simple: “She believed me.” Ogake offered Christina the understanding that she needed. “I’ve done a lot of work on myself and I’m slowly starting to get the clarity that needs to come, and to access resources that are out there to help me with the situation I’m in, and to stop people from harming me.”

Christina continues to come to Surrey Women’s Centre. She finds refuge in a place where she can be safe physically and emotionally. “It’s secure. I mean, you’re buzzed in and you’re locked out… that’s very secure.” Beyond that, Christina feels supported. She feels that her needs are addressed. “Stuff actually gets done and I get brought or led to the places I need to go to help heal from certain things or get more information.”

Christina found hope at Surrey Women’s Centre, and she’s passing it on. “If my story can give one person hope, the way that I was given hope, then the pain that I went through was worth it.” Christina hopes that survivors of violence will find strength in her story, and “the courage inside of themselves to face whatever it is that’s keeping them stuck.” By telling others, “things were done to me, and it doesn’t control me anymore,” she knows they, too, will see that “there’s help, there’s a way out.”