Sonya received her shoes from the shelter. She was sitting alone and keeping to herself when I sat down to talk to her.
What is your biggest struggle with poverty on a daily basis?
“Shelter. I have no place of my own. I was in an apartment but I had to move out. Things were bad for me there. I’m staying at the mission right now. It’s not too bad, actually. There’s probably less than a dozen women like me, sleeping in bunk beds. I have no family here that I can rely on. They’re all in Quebec and America.”
What would you like people to know about living in poverty?
“It can happen to me. It can happen to you. I was in what I thought was a loving relationship. I moved here to Windsor to be with him; I am away from every member of my family. Then things turned out real bad. My ex-boyfriend is a psychopath. Honestly, he is. He stalks me. I’m living a $#%@ nightmare.”
“I had a job. I cleaned and babysat for my relatives. Things were just fine. Then, it all changed the longer I was with my ex. He kept me away from my family and friends. He controlled me.”
“My family is very worried about me. My ex is really bad. I didn’t see it before but I see it now. He’s disturbed. I can see a pattern of his behaviour with other women, too. He’s a psychopath and a rapist. I think he’s killed a woman. I told the police and they are looking into it.”
“I’ve filed a protection order. Tell women in my situation to go to the police. Don’t put up with this stuff! The police are going to protect me and help me. They’ve put me in touch with resources for battered women.”
“My Uncle Jim’s going to come to Windsor and take me back to Quebec. As long as I’m here, I’m constantly looking over my shoulder in fear of my ex. Tell women to go to the police. They will keep you safe. I never, ever thought I’d be in this position.”