How To Change A Life

By David Kirk McCleary, Outreach Pastor
During May and June we are collecting donations of toiletries to benefit a local women's shelter.
Place your donations in the bin in the Atrium.

Posted on May 1, 2013

No one plans to end up in a shelter. Woman don't enter into relationships thinking they will end in heartache, emotional abuse or physical violence. In their flight for safety, many women leave behind every personal possession, their homes, their friends, their extended families, their jobs and almost everything else that once defined them. In order to spare themselves further harm, abuse, and, in extreme cases, fear for their very lives, many leave with only the shirts on their backs.

  • On any given day in Canada, more than 3,000 women (along with their 2,500 children) are living in an emergency shelter to escape domestic violence.
  • Each year, over 40,000 arrests result from domestic violence — that’s about 12 per cent of all violent crime in Canada. Since only 22 per cent of all incidents are reported to the police, the real number is much higher.
  • In just one year in Canada, 427,000 women over the age of 15 reported they had been sexually assaulted. Since only about 10 per cent of all sexual assaults are reported to the police, the actual number is much higher.
  • More than one in ten Canadian women say they have been stalked by someone in a way that made them fear for their life.
  • Half of all women in Canada have experienced at least one incident of physical or sexual violence since the age of 16.
  • 67% of all Canadians say they personally know at least one woman who has been sexually or physically assaulted.

It is circumstances like these that leave women with no option but to escape the crucible of terror. These are the circumstances and horrors of relationships which have gone so terribly wrong. They affect women and families, cutting across the dividing lines of education, ethnicity, socio-economic status and religion.

So what can we at St. Paul’s do in the face of such staggering statistics? How can we possibly help these women – our friends, our neighbours, our sisters, surviving these heartbreaking realities?

We can change one life at a time, with a loving act of kindness.

So for the next two months, here at St. Paul’s, we are collecting toiletries to benefit a local women's shelter. We are collecting unopened bottles of moisturizer, shampoo, shower gels and all those other toiletries. Yes, it is only a small thing, but it is small act done with great love. It is a further encouragement to these brave women, another step on their road to the recovery, and understanding anew what it means to be made in the image of God and dearly loved by Him.