Panic_Button Hamilton 24hr Crisis Lines:
• Inasmuch House 905-529-8600 • Fem-aide 1-877-336-2433
• Good Shepherd 905-523-6277
• SACHA 905-525-4162
• Native Women's Centre 1-888-308-6559
• COAST (mental health) 905-972-8338
• Hamilton Interval House 905-387-8881

About cjw

A mother of three and a survivor of domestic violence, I am passionate about helping women who feel isolated and alone, women who may have children that are profoundly impacted by the trauma of domestic violence and women who need to understand where they can go to get help for themselves and their families. I am a registered nurse who has worked for the last 16 years in a critical care area only to have to flee to a women's shelter and have my whole life changed. I know fear, I know pain and I now know food banks...I'm in good company.

Author Archive | cjw

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Who needs panic attacks anyways?

A couple of years ago I was with a group of women as part of a leadership group for Good Shepherd's Sage Camp. We were working on conflict resolution and the activity for the hour was to work through situations using role playing (we would act out different roles and figure out the best way to handle disagreements). Two of us were asked to get up and act out a scenario whereby one woman was upset because she wanted to borrow something and the other said no, I was to be the one saying no. I was right into this activity, I enthusiastically began acting out my part, as did my friend, in fact she got into her part so much that she decided that her character was going to get really, REALLY angry and she suddenly started shouting about four inches from my face...

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I’m here when you need me

"Many strong women have had to walk this path, I'm here when you need me".  These were the words I just texted to a friend .  Sometimes this is all we can do despite everything in me that wants to rush over, pick her and her children up and take charge of the chaos of their unraveling lives.

I know that my experience as a woman who has been where my friend currently is counts a lot in her eyes.  She trusts my input because I come from a place of knowing.

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The bittersweet kindness of strangers

I had an experience today and I feel somehow that others might be able to relate..on a number of levels.

fall daisy and sunshine

fall daisy

So my oven died a month ago, just the baking element on the bottom with the burners still working but there has been no baking in this house for a while now (not that my kids are crying over that, my cookies are usually burnt and they call my bread "mom's lead bread") however that is not the point.  The point is that because I rent, it should be my landlord's responsibility to get me a new oven, right?? His response: "No, I don't think so, I would rather you just bought your own".  Hmmm.

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My name is Cathy

 

When I sit down to write a blog post I find myself wondering who you are. Who are you, you that is reading this?  Are you someone who has stumbled across this website by accident? Did you punch a few words into a 'google' search and it suggested you take a look here?    I don't know who you are but please let me introduce myself:Inaugural Blog

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It does get better.

A kindred spiritAs I write this, the wind is blowing and howling outside of my window, it's a lonely sound.  I remember sitting and looking out my window in the Fall of 2010, the wind was howling then too and the window I was sitting at was at Inasmuch House in Hamilton, a shelter for women.  I was alone and the wind echoed my pain.  Thank God for Inasmuch House for although I felt alone in what I was going through, I had never been more surrounded by support. 

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It’s good to connect with each other

it's good to connect with each other

it's good to connect with each other

Last week I had a break and enter at my home.  Not much was taken (I'm grateful that I obviously have nothing of any real value!) but my bedroom was ransacked.  I walked in to see most of my clothes strewn across the floor and I suddenly realised that I couldn’t touch them.  I couldn’t physically touch them! (How weird is that?)  I figured I would be able to do it the next day...nope.  Then the next and the next...nope, nope, nope.  OK I was just going to have to wait until I was able to speak to my counsellor at Catholic Family Services.  I came home from that appointment a few days later and  was finally able to clear up my clothes ... my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from Domestic Violence had been triggered but once I was able to see that clearly I was able to move on.

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Some of what’s going on in the city of Hamilton…check it out!

One of the things that we are most committed to here at 1infour is to maintain the calendar of monthly events.  In fact, the idea to have a calendar that reflects goings-on across the city was one of the founding principles behind the creation of 1infour, we recognise how important it is to be connected and not isolated.  Not everyone will go to workshops or barbeques but hey, who wouldn't like a free manicure or haircut?  From Women's Weekly (one of my personal favs) to zumba at Good Shepherd, there are multiple opportunities to connect with other women and guess what? ... Good Shepherd offers services that you don't even have to identify as a woman who has experienced any issues of abuse! The services are all there for the taking!

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Why 1infour?

why 1infour

why 1infour

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post for 1infour, considering I wrote everyday for about a year, this has indeed been a long break!  Lots of reasons I guess, time moves on but some things don’t change.  I am not the person I was when we started 1infour, I am older, hopefully a little wiser but definitely stronger.

Why 1infour?

Well for one, 1infour exists for the children: not just my children but for every child who has lived in a home where anger and tension are the norm, where mothers turn away so that the children won’t see their tears and where  “walking on eggshells” is the safest way to be.

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Journal-writing

Selma….the need for change

AvoidanceNow and again we all meet people whose outward appearance belies the person underneath,  Doreen Nicoll is one such person.  Doreen and I met late last year when we both appeared as guests on a television show, she sat across from me and I noted how petite and frail she seemed...until she started speaking!  My friend Doreen may be petite but she is a powerhouse of empowerment, a woman who has and is still living with the effects of domestic violence and yet who has chosen to speak up to advocate for others.  Doreen wields her pen (or rather, her computer) as her weapon of choice, writing prolifically in her fight to do her part to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.  1 in four will be showcasing Doreen's blogs, the first of which appears below...enjoy!

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why 1infour

New! Check it out!!

I had the huge privilege of speaking to a great group of women the other day. The women and their children are taking part in a group called LEAF which

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