Signal for Help

7 Episodes

By: Canadian Women's Foundation and Media Girlfriends

Welcome to Signal for Help, a special podcast series from the Canadian Women’s Foundation and award-winning women journalists, Media Girlfriends. We know that gender-based violence is a problem, and we want to support survivors in our lives, but there’s a lot of stigma and silence around gender-based violence in our society: too many people who experience abuse are shamed, silenced, and stigmatized, and too many people don’t feel confident and competent in supporting them. Featuring interviews with survivors and experts, we’ll explore how everyday people can better support survivors of gender-based violence. This project has been funded by...

Sherrie: What finally made me leave

In this final episode, we meet Sherrie, a survivor of intimate partner violence who has so much wisdom to share. Her story is one of family, faith, and what can happen when the institutions we trust fail us. 

Sherrie and her four children suffered control and abuse for years at the hands of her ex-husband. She attempted to leave the relationship many times, eventually doing so after two particularly difficult experiences involving her children and the final realization that her ex-husband “won't lift a finger to help me, not even when I am in serious need of hel...

Brandi: A personal mission to report on MMIWG

Listen. Stay open without judgment or advice. Focus on what they need.  

These are just a few ways we can better support survivors, as we learn this week from Brandi Morin, a Cree/Iroquois/French award-winning journalist and bestselling author from Treaty 6 territory in Alberta.  

Brandi speaks from first-hand experience as a survivor of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) crisis. As a pre-teen, she was sexually assaulted and held for a week by a group of unknown men. She later recounted her experience to a counselor at her group home only to b...

Yasmin & Taghreed: We are the frontlines

This week, we’re joined by two guests: Yasmin and Taghreed, colleagues at the Muslim Resource Centre for Social Support & Integration.  

They’re based in London, Ontario, a city that has experienced a traumatic Islamophobic attack in recent years. Yasmin was originally working with Muslim youth, addressing gendered Islamophobia and various social issues. When the pandemic happened, she asked, “How are your moms?”  

From there, Yasmin and Taghreed co-created a peer-to-peer program for newcomer women to Canada. It’s delivered over Zoom in English, with Arabic translation, with curriculum focused on recognizing signs of abuse and providing...

Bernadette: Call it abuse

Bernadette has always been drawn to helping people. And now, that’s exactly what she does living and working in Halifax as a court advocate for women fleeing abusive relationships.  

This work is personal for Bernadette. She grew up in a “dysfunctional” home where she suffered corporal punishment at the hands of her father. Then, in her early 20s, she met her now ex-husband, who abused her throughout their 29-year relationship. This included physical abuse during her pregnancy, as well as enduring emotional abuse such as control and belittlement.  

She felt that friends and family minimized...

Ruby: If I can help just one person

This week, we meet Ruby – a strong advocate for the work of the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  

Ruby is based in Toronto, with a young daughter, a loving family, and strong ties to her South Asian community. She is also the survivor of physical, emotional, and “all forms of violence” experienced at the hands of her ex-husband while living with him and his family.  

She describes her ex-husband’s family as complicit in the abuse, which left her feeling isolated and helpless even though she was surrounded by people. She describes the shame she carried – for her “choice”...

Eternity: Listen without judgement

Statistically, girls and gender-diverse young people face high rates of intimate partner violence — rates more than double what women aged 25 to 44 experience, and more than six times higher than what women aged 65 or older experience, according to one national survey.  

Eternity Martis knows these statistics well, as an award-winning journalist, author, and assistant professor of journalism at Toronto Metropolitan University. Her 2020 memoir, They Said This Would Be Fun spotlights her experiences being a student of colour on a predominantly white campus, while also being with an abusive boyfriend.  

This episode focuses on Eternity’s first-person account...

Signal for Help

You can find more information about this podcast and full episode transcripts on the Canadian Women's Foundation website (

This podcast includes stories of gender-based violence. Please listen with care.  

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or your local emergency services (police, fire, ambulance). For a list of shelters, other services, and information that may be helpful to you, go to and click on “Get Help”.  

When you know how to respond to the signs of abuse, you can change the story. Take action at Signa...