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The shelter was my support system that allowed me to grow and be independent again.
"There never had been a place like this."
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Some of the most passionate mental health advocates work in women's shelters. Women on the front-lines for addressing mental health needs. Women supporting other women to find safety, stability, and empowerment in their lives -- in a way, sisterhood embodied.
"The reality is yes, a lot of shelters are at capacity and the sad fact is, yes, there is a real need for greater creation of space."
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Transitional shelters see an increase of 30 per cent in calls for support during the holidays.
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When mothers are abused their children are also significantly impacted. The abuse ripple-effect is far reaching. Children who witness their mother's abuse can experience learning challenges, behavioural and mental health issues and these long-term effects can extend far into adulthood. The Interval House study also showed the majority of Canadians do not believe that a woman should stay in an abusive relationship for the sake of the children. It is a positive shift that so many Canadians support mothers leaving an abusive relationship, rather than insisting on keeping the family unit intact no matter what.
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Abuse is always the responsibility of the abuser. Always. If we want to significantly change attitudes and feel optimistic about progress then we need to hear people saying loudly that there is no action or choice by a victim that can ever justify abuse. Not if she cheats on him, if she's a bad cook, if she nags, if she hates his mother, if she is passive, if she has different priorities, if she's stressed out, if she doesn't feel like sex, if she likes to spend, if she's a poor communicator, if she hates mopping the floor or if she forgets his birthday.
How does a woman who was abused by her father and addicted to drugs by her parents at that age ever get back on her feet? How does she grow up to become a functioning member of society? It can be hard enough for people with parents who care for them to succeed in life and find happiness, but with criminal acts perpetrated by family members this seems impossible.
Social Enterprise is defined by Donors Forum as "A nonprofit venture that combines the passion of a social mission with the discipline, innovation, and determination commonly associated with for-profit businesses." The hard truth is that many budding social enterprises, like business start-ups, are doomed to failure. What is it, then, that put Soup Sisters in the winner's circle in this precarious environment?
On any given Sunday, women and men across the country gather together in professional kitchens under the guidance of professional chefs and produce litres and litres of nourishing, nurturing soups for Monday morning delivery to their local women's shelters. Nationally, Soup Sisters' events now churn out approximately 8,000 bowls of soup a month for 25 women's emergency shelters and youth-at-risk centres from Ottawa to Vancouver Island.