With tears in my eyes I walked into Pacifica and said, “Please, I’m in a transition house with my two daughters, I am in court, and I need a place to live.” I was dealing with a historical sexual assault; I lost my virginity between the ages of 4 and 5.
I was not able to balance trauma, healing and job performance. I lost my job, my home and eventually my family fell apart. I essentially found myself broke and homeless with two children praying to a God I never knew.
Pacifica explained to me, “Subsidized housing is one step up from being off the street,” and homes were given to the highest in need. Although Pacifica had homes that permitted dogs, none of those homes were available. My little dog Angel was the last to go and it was not easy. I had to accept the hard facts, “I’m not in a mental state where I could give her the love that she needed, but I found a home that could.”
My priority was to keep me and my children together, heal from trauma, get educated, and finish the ugly court case; for a single mom with a Grade 9 education, that was more than enough responsibilities.
Pacifica gave me a clean three-bedroom townhouse for $208 per a month. My little girls could safely play outside and the children from the complex regularly come to visit.
There is never less than 10 children that play together in this complex. They don’t have fancy toys, but they have each other. You see, we may live in poverty, but we are far from poor.
With the exception of a two-parent family, we are 18 units comprised of mostly single women with children. Sure, at times it’s not so jolly, but our doors are never locked and tea is always brewing.
Once a year, Pacifica pays for camp Thunderbird. They supply a school bus and kids are given a lunch. In addition, every Tuesday Pacifica sends a community leader to hold a kids club. Pacifica also pays and arranges community skating events and fun farm trips for the families.
We have community garage sales, we go to the beach together, and we take our kids swimming.
We know when a child is sick and we definitely know when our children are fighting. Yet, at the end of a long day, I come home to my little girls running towards me to give me a hug, they truly are my angels.
I enrolled at the University of Victoria and I was able to receive immediate psychotherapy through campus health services. Dr. Cooper, a campus psychiatrist, literally reconstructed my mind. I went through intense psychotherapy treatments while attending part time classes.
Dr. Karen Brown, a philosophy professor at UVic, teaches moral ethic, and was my professor for many classes. She was patient and compassionate while I struggled though the theories. I attended almost all of her ethical classes. I shared them with my friends in Jolly Place. We love learning, we just never got a chance.
I now major in philosophy, and I am a law student at ALU. I am still in court and fighting my own trial. My appeal is on Sept. 27, 2016. In any event, my story is nothing short of a miracle and Pacifica was an essential factor.
In addition to this, I have met other rape victims at Jolly Place, amongst the ones are ‘K’ and ‘J’.
K is excited and saddened because she wants to go to university. She has obstacles that she needs to cross and that requires the help of the community. Pacifica houses her and takes care of her.
The other is ‘J’, also a victim of sexual assault. She has been making future plans of becoming a veterinary assistant. As a victim of sexual assault, healing while in school means facing the darkest demons in one’s closet. If I had to do it again, I don’t know if I could.
These women are up against a fight for their life. They stood up and walked away from abuse.
When a woman is inviting her abuser into her home, the issue becomes too big for Pacifica. Tenants, such as myself, are left in a terrible position to call 911 when screams are heard. After I call, her abuser starts to become angry with me.
We all rely on Pacifica to keep the community safe and keep the violence out. Its not an easy job. I guess what I am trying to say is, “Thank you Pacifica, you changed my life.”