- Feel scared of how your spouse/partner may behave in private or public?
- Constantly make excuses to others for your spouse/partner’s behaviour?
- Believe that you can change your spouse/partner’s behaviour by changing yourself?
- Feel afraid of doing anything that may cause conflict or anger your spouse/partner?
- Always do what your spouse/partner wants you to do instead of what you want?
- Stay with your spouse/partner because you are afraid of violence if you broke up?
If any of this is happening in your intimate partner relationship, GET HELP!
Talk to one of our multilingual community support workers (CSWs) to access culturally appropriate resources in your language.
Safety is a fundamental human right and it has been a concern for women for thousands of years. Muslim women may face disproportionately high rates of violence, because as newcomers to Canada, they face several systemic, language, and cultural barriers.
Every woman deserves to be treated equally and respectfully to live a peaceful and prosperous life.
With that in mind, Towards Violence Free Homes (TVFH) provides multilingual, culturally responsive resources to women experiencing domestic abuse in Waterloo Region.
- We connect women to legal information resources
- We connect women with the right shelters
- We provide culturally responsive counselling
- We assist women in finding financial support
- We arrange for translation services in diverse languages…and more!
Our services also focus on increasing social integration and financial independence among racialized, newcomer women that may be experiencing social isolation due to a change in culture, environment, and support system.
This program is filling a crucial gap in gender-based violence services locally by reaching very isolated women, providing them information and connections in their own language, based in an understanding of their cultures.
Our multilingual community support workers (CSWs) are fluent in Arabic, Somali, Tigrinya, Urdu, Hindi, Turkish, Persian, Pashto, and English. The CSWs are well integrated in the community, where they conduct regular sessions on healthy living, mental health, relationships, conflict resolution, and much more. On an annual basis, TVFH holds dozens of community (in-person and virtual) sessions that reach hundreds of women.
Any woman in the community experiencing domestic violence can easily access our services. But one of TVFH’s priorities is to educate and empower racialized, newcomer women about Canadian systems, such as immigration, child custody, and other family issues.
We work with several local community partners to offer solutions based in diverse cultural experiences. The goal is to give Muslim women more visibility and opportunity to become leaders.
What is Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse or violence is harmful behaviour between intimate partners (for example, husband and wife) where one partner has power over the other and uses it to control and/or harm the other.
Types of Abuse:
Emotional/psychological abuse is when a partner blames the other for all problems, threatens to throw them out, or take away the children.
Financial abuse is when a partner limits your access to finances, including your own pay cheque, education, training, and work.
Physical abuse is any form of physical harm by one partner to the other. It can be choking, slapping, kicking, punching, spitting at the partner, or throwing objects at them.
Sexual abuse happens when a partner demands unrestricted sexual access, forces oral, anal or vaginal intercourse, engages in violent sexual acts with the other partner.
Social abuse or control happens when a partner restricts the other partner from seeing family and friends and general socialization.
Spiritual/religio-cultural abuse is when a partner prevents the other from practicing their religion, shames or makes fun of their religion, using culture to threaten isolation.
Verbal abuse is when a partner ridicules or insults the other partner or their family, criticizes, shames, or screams at them.
Domestic Abuse is NOT Your Fault
Abusive behaviours are used to scare, bully, physically hurt/attack, or intimidate the victim. These behaviours become more frequent and severe over time.
- NO ONE deserves to be abused
- You are NOT alone
- There is help in your language, even if you’re a newcomer
- DON’T worry about threats to your sponsorship
- You ARE worthy of love and respect
Helping Someone Experiencing Domestic Violence
Here are some things you can do for your friend or family member facing domestic violence:
- Listen – Let them share their story. Listen with empathy, compassion, and without judgment.
- Believe – Believe them when they share their story. Use words like, “I believe you.”
- Affirm – Tell them, “You do not deserve to be treated this way.”
- Avoid – Telling them they can stop the abuse if they are patient and/or change their ways.
- Help – Connecting them with available community support services
"Here in Canada, as an immigrant"
"Here in Canada, as an immigrant, we have more stress than others, especially women. We experience more stress than others due to social expectations. This project helps me a lot personally. I never saw that I also have chronic stress. I have learned to manage my emotions delivering information appropriately to people."
"I feel like I’ve known (you) for a long time."
"I feel like I’ve known (you) for a long time. The way you listen and provide services, it doesn’t feel like work; it feels like it’s from your heart."
"My family was far away and I didn’t want to bother them."
My family was far away and I didn’t want to bother them. CMW has been my family here."
"My kids and I hadn’t received zabeeha"
"My kids and I hadn’t received zabeeha (meat slaughtered on Eid al-Azha) in the last few years. Because of CMW, we have been able to celebrate Eid al-Azha this year."