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By Hilla Kerner
February 15, 2020

1200 new women are calling us every year…Every year...

Sometimes they call because they can’t sleep. They are having nightmares about their attacks, or because they need to face their attacker in the morning, at work, at school or at the Thanksgiving family dinner.

Sometimes they call us because it’s not safe for them to stay where they are, in the house where they live with him, or that he has access to.

Sometimes they call us because they need a bus ticket or a flight, because the only way to be safe from him is to take the kids and move far away.

Many times they will call us because they want to protect other women. They say “I don’t want him to do it to another woman” or “I don’t want another woman to go through this”

Many women will call to tell us about one attack, one man. But, as we build our relationships, they will tell us about other men and other attacks. Sometimes she will call about her husband, and then, when she lives with us, safe from him, she will also tell us about her father, and then about her pimp. Sometimes she calls us about a john and once we get to know each other, she will tell us about her uncle. Sometimes, she’ll call about her boss and later on she will tell us about her high school boyfriend.

And we will open our house to her and her children, we’ll group her with other women including ourselves, we’ll go with her for a rape kit in the middle of the night, we’ll sit beside her if she decides to give a statement to the police, we’ll go with her to family court as she fight for her motherhood and the safety of her children and we’ll fight off the ministry who will apprehend her children instead of supporting her with money, child care and housing. We’ll hear her out as she articulates her confrontation letter to her father or her warning to her sister to keep her children away from him, we’ll help her to call a town-hall meeting, organize a protest, circulate a petition, or find other women who will join her class action lawsuit. We’ll join her as she takes her fight to her union, her university, her congregation, the human rights tribunal or to the streets. Because her fight is our fight.

And every woman who survives, escapes, or fights her attacker, adds to our collective resistance.

* These words were said by collective member Hilla Kerner at Standing Together, October 2018

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