Healing Gaia

Overcoming Abuse and Trauma

This remarkable young woman is putting a face and a very strong voice to the issues of abuse and trauma.

By Doreen Nicoll
Published May 16, 2014

On May 6 I had the privilege of attending a full day of training on trauma and people with intellectual disabilities. The social workers who presented were knowledgeable, effective speakers, but the true expert was Ashley. A young woman in her early twenties, Ashley has known more trauma in her short life than most of us could ever imagine.

Born to teenage parents with developmental challenges, Ashley was neglected for the first two years of life. She spent some time in a foster home before being adopted. But, what should have been a happy ending for Ashley turned into a nightmare.

She was physically abused and food was used as a weapon, often being withheld. When her parents divorced, her father began sexually assaulting Ashley.

The trauma stopped for a while when Ashley disclosed to a teacher. This stint in foster care ended when her boyfriend convinced her to move in with him and his mother. Unfortunately, Ashley was more valuable to them as income rather than the wonderful woman that she is.

Ashley was once again a ward of the Crown until a couple stepped forward to adopt her. Finally, Ashley has a happy home with a mom, a dad and two young siblings. Ashley beams when she talks about her family. Her stories convey how much they truly care about and for her.

With the help of agencies and individuals in the Halton community, Ashley has become strong, fiercely independent, not afraid to speak up for herself, very confident, and has retained her natural sense of humour. This wonderful young woman has to be one of the absolutely best public speakers that I have had the pleasure of hearing.

Ashley is incredibly brave because she is putting a face and a very strong voice to the issues of abuse and trauma. I would like to thank you, Ashley, for doing this very important work.

I would also like to thank Community Living Halton, Nina's Place, and Sexual Assault Victims Intervention Services for orchestrating this incredible day.

By the way, a special shout-out to The Lunch Box. This unique restaurant and catering service is run by Community Living North Halton. I'm always excited when they're catering events I attend because I know not only will I be well fed, but I'll enjoy every single morsel!

Doreen Nicoll is a feminist and a member of several community organizations working diligently to end poverty, hunger and gendered violence.

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By Thanks (anonymous) | Posted May 16, 2014 at 20:40:21

Thanks for sharing this. It's amazing the will of the human spirit. Next time I'm in Milton I will definitely stop by the Lunch Box.

I hope this is their web site: clnh .on. ca/lunchbox-cafe/

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By AP (registered) | Posted May 20, 2014 at 08:38:51

Doreen, I'm just catching up on my RTH reading. Thanks for continuing to share these important stories here.

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By Doreen (registered) | Posted May 23, 2014 at 16:28:28

The Lunch Box café is located at 917-B Nipissing Rd., Milton.

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