Lorraine was very different than her girly sisters; she was a tomboy with severe dyslexia and learning disabilities. She frequently felt alienated in the family unit and was often treated as an outsider.
Pregnant at 14, and with a new baby at 15, she lived with her father for a short time, and then returned to her mom’s house with the baby. Eventually, her stepfather’s odd and inappropriate behavior started to become a problem for Lorraine and her small son.
Around that time, she met a man ten years her senior and they began dating. He was witty, funny, and charismatic, and everyone thought he was wonderful.
Lorraine’s mother pushed for her to marry, but shortly into the relationship, a dark side became apparent. While appearing on the surface to be a lighthearted and magnetic man, in private he was abusive. Confiding to her sister what was occurring behind closed doors, Lorraine was given advice to let it be, since her son appeared to be unharmed. What was happening to her was hastily dismissed.
With no job skills and the challenge of her learning disabilities, Lorraine was pressured to leave home, and coerced into marriage by both his family, and hers.
Her deceptively charming husband became intensely abusive in all senses of the word: verbally, emotionally, physically, sexually, and financially—he even had a cruel tactic for being abusive with food.
When Lorraine finally found the courage to ask her family for help to leave, she was offered a brochure for a women’s shelter. With her son and beloved pets as her only lifeline, she felt the option of fleeing without them was out of question.
Two years later, with the abuse escalating, she escaped and moved in with a friend. She sought emergency counseling at the Surrey Women’s Centre until she was integrated into regular, ongoing counseling sessions.
Struggling with PTSD and fibromyalgia, she is still able to volunteer three days a week at SWC. Lorraine’s enthusiasm to give back and be of aid to other women in need is palpable. Lending a listening ear, free of judgment, and offering clothing, food, or just a hot tea to any woman who comes in requiring either is a joy. She feels a tremendous amount of satisfaction seeing the difference between a woman when she arrives at SWC, and then afterwards when she leaves the care of the centre.
With the assistance and guidance of the legal team at SWC, Lorraine has filed charges of sexual assault and rape against her ex-husband, and a court date will be set in 2020. She says would not have had the strength and tenacity to proceed with all that is involved in the process, and is profoundly grateful for the support of SWC to see justice prevail.
Clearly a woman of great resilience, when asked about rebounding from her devastating passage, Lorraine recalled a beautiful and poignant story about her son.
On a game he adored, he had built a cache of dragons, creatures he’d lovingly collected through the progression of the game. But his dragons were being wiped out systematically, and he had lost all but one creature, a dragon that was barely alive. As he worked to save his last animal, and help it make an almost impossible comeback, she heard him call out her name, over and over. She quickly went to check on him to find out why he was calling her name.
When she asked, he said he’d named his dying dragon Lorraine.
“Why did you give it my name?”
“My last dragon deserves your name, mom. After the terrible things you’ve gone through, and the incredible strength you’ve shown, and how you’ve survived it all—and that we are here in this place now—he will live and triumph if he has your name.”