Abuse survivor hoping to 'Shine the Light' on woman abuse
A woman who escaped the depths of depression and suicide is being hailed as a true survivor as the London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) kicks off its 12th annual Shine the Light campaign.
After surviving genocide in Rwanda, life didn’t get much better for Shadia Keza, because when she moved in with her aunt in Uganda she was forced into prostitution.
“I wanted to die, that was the only way I could feel happy,” says Keza, who now lives in London
She says her aunt was the one who abused her, “Physical and emotionally, mentally and if I refused to do what she said I could sleep outside and no food.”
After moving to Canada there was more abuse at the hands of her husband, but things changed once she found the LAWC.
“They helped me a lot 'cause right now where I’m standing it’s because of them,” says Keza.
Jennifer Dunn, the executive director at LAWC, calls Keza a strong and courageous woman and that’s why she’s one of this year’s survivors for the Shine the Light campaign.
“It means so much when one woman is willing to come forward to share her story,” says Dunn. “Last year the London Abused Women’s Centre provided service to over 3,800 women and girls in person.”
The Shine the Light campaign kicks off on Nov. 1 with the lighting of the Tree of Hope at Victoria Park. After that businesses, homes and offices are urged to turn purple for the month. On Nov. 15 everyone is encouraged to wear the same colour.
“The goals of the campaign is to raise awareness of men’s violence against women, to show women that they’re not alone,” says Dunn.
Keza is hoping her story touches others saying, “I want other women or girls who went through (it) to understand that they are not alone, there will always be people there to help.”