At Vancouver Rape Relief and Women’s Shelter we offer women and their children a refuge, a sanctuary, a place where they can temporarily escape from the violent men in their lives and where they can plan a future.

Women in the house, (both residents and workers) ally by connecting their personal and individual forces from attentiveness to creativity to increase the overall safety of each other. It starts with being alert to the individual security of each woman, and from there we collaborate to protect each other and women in general from violent men. The process requires solidarity and vigilance and is often very inventive in its adaptation to each woman’s particular situation and to our collective vision of security.

Women take a very active role making decisions about their safety and how to increase it. A woman might enlist the help of a lawyer to draft a removal and primary occupancy order of the family home so that she and her children might eventually return in safety. She might obtain temporary legal custody of her children, or call and report an attack to the police, or apply for a protective order from the courts.

Living in our transition house or joining one of our support groups gives a woman current information about what is available and about what other women in similar situations have done, giving her an opportunity to decide the best course of action for her. Sometimes in spite of legal rights, women cannot get what they are entitled to from the government. In those situations, and with a woman’s permission, we work together and advocate on her behalf.  An appropriate police response, a legal response, a health care response and an economic response  will increase her security. In the course of our advocacy work, we ensure that we are sharing our knowledge with her, following her lead and working together in the development of the best possible safety plan.  

We recognize that men may persist in their attacks and so we maintain contact and support with willing women during the first year or more after her separation or escape.

In this section, we have included documents that think about the politics of safety from a feminist perspective. If you would like to suggest an article for this section you can mail it to us at  [email protected]