A strange thing happened to me last week. I had just come out of the drugstore and gotten into my car when the door suddenly opened and a woman got into the backseat. I swung around and was about to tell her that my yellow car wasn’t a taxi and ask her to leave when she cried urgently, “Please take me to a women’s shelter.”
That’s when I noticed the black eye, the split lip and the blue marks on her arms. That galvanized me into starting the engine and pulling away from the curb. I headed for the shelter where my sister worked. On the way, the woman told me her story. She was living common-law with a man twice her age. Things had started off fine until he got laid off. He began drinking and the physical abuse began.
There were times when she couldn’t go to work because of a black eye of a busted rib. He threatened to kill her if she left him. For years, she lived in constant fear. Even after he got another job, the abuse still continued. He forced her to quit her job and she lived as a prisoner in the apartment they shared. She couldn’t go anywhere or talk to anyone. She was alienated from her family and friends. Life was hell on earth for her and there were times when she was tempted to end her life. She would rather die than continue to live as she was–in fear and pain.
Then, today, a thought to leave came into her head. The door which was usually locked from the outside to prevent her from leaving was unlocked. It wasn’t like him to do that. Taking that as a Divine sign, she put on her shoes and walked out of that hellhole, closing the door behind her.
She ran down the stairwell, avoiding the elevator and ran outside. She spotted the yellow car and me inside it and got in. “I know that this isn’t a taxi but I was compelled to get into it.”
When she said that, I realized it was God who had orchestrated the whole thing. I was going to stop by the drugstore in the afternoon but He told me to go when I did instead. He wanted me to be there when this woman needed someone to take her to a shelter where she would be safe. I’m humbled that He chose me to be a part of His rescue plan. And it was no coincidence that my sister worked at the emergency shelter. Before we arrived at the shelter, I called her to let her know the situation and that we were on our way.
My sister was waiting in the lobby when we walked in. I said to the woman, “This is my sister, Zofia. She will take care of you.”
Zofia said to me, “Thanks for bringing her, Casimir.” She smiled kindly to the woman. “You’ll be very safe here.”
The woman nodded gratefully. Then, she looked at me. “Thank you for bringing me here,” she said. “You saved my life.”
“It was God who saved your life.”
“Yes,” she agreed. “And He used you to help me.”
I couldn’t argue with that. All I could say was, “I’m thankful that He did.” I said goodbye to her and left her in Zofia’s care.
This incident happened two years ago. The last I heard of the woman was she had left the shelter and was living outside of the United States. Zofia had received a note from her letting her know that she was engaged to a wonderful Christian man.
She asked Zofia to tell me that she was working at a not-for-profit faith based organization which provided hope, encouragement, support, education, spiritual direction and assistance for women, who used to be in abusive and destructive relationships. She wrote in her note, “God helped me so that I can in turn help others.”
I was very pleased to hear that she was doing well and that God was using her to help others. I don’t know what became of the man who abused her. What a shock it must have been for him to go home that day to find an empty flat. The woman he had used for a punching bag, had left him for good. It served him right. I have an aversion for any man who hits a woman. Still, I continue to pray for him because I believe that God can change him.
This story is fiction but it was written for International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women which is today, Friday, November 25.
There are 16 days of activism from November 25 to December 10. Find out how you can participate where you are. To learn more about Domestic violence and what the signs to look for, please check out this link. Take action. Raise awareness. Together we can help to eliminate violence against women.
Sources: Dei Hommes; Government of Canada