From Privilege to Desperation: Kristie's Battle for Justice

From Privilege to Desperation: Kristie's Battle for Justice

Today, I write to you as Kristie, a woman who has experienced the stark contrast between privilege and desperation in her community. I share my story with you, not as a work of fiction, but as a raw and painful account of the realities faced by those who are marginalized and voiceless. Every detail I present carries the weight of my personal experiences and the credibility of living in this community my entire life.


Growing up in Sarnia, Ontario, I was raised in a world of extreme privilege. My grandfather, a patriarch of the community, founded the Sarnia Braves baseball team, a symbol of status and exclusivity. However, the three girls my family helped raise, including myself, were denied the opportunity to play baseball solely because of our gender, and have all succumbed to addiction and homelessness. I am the only one in recovery and escaping that demise only to end up here, in the same situation I worked hard to never go back to. This early realization of the pervasive patriarchy within our town planted the seeds of discontent in my heart.


As I’ve navigated through life, I’ve witnessed the insidious normalization of domestic violence in our community. The local women's shelter, a haven for those seeking refuge, has reached its maximum capacity. With my sister homeless and me on a healing journey, no other family and with the unexpected responsibility of raising her surprise twin babies alone. The weight of their innocence magnified the harsh realities faced by those living on the fringes of society.


In this college town, with even still a low level of education, skilled trades are often prioritized over intellectual pursuits. The shelter workers, overwhelmed and burnt out, lack the resources to fully comprehend the depth of the issues they face. And yet, I, Kristie, armed with my own education and personal experiences, have realized that the system is failing the indigenous, the uneducated, and the unwell.


My journey has not been limited to the confines of privilege. I have personally experienced the brutality of abusive relationships, enduring years of emotional and physical and sexual torment - and adding financial abuse to the mix. Alongside this, my battle for reproductive rights led me to undergo numerous surgeries, witnessing firsthand the flaws within the healthcare system. The corrupt city professionals, which I had once believed in, now stand as a roadblock to justice and progress.


I have seen the underbelly of society, having been exposed to the drug world that thrives within our community. I am not naive to the corruption that still exists, and I know which professionals can be trusted and which cannot. I possess the unique mix of credibility, having lived on both sides of privilege and poverty, gaining an intimate understanding of the struggles faced by those who are often overlooked.


My name is Kristie, and I refuse to leave a single detail out of my story. I have endured the loss of both my parents, leaving me without a support system. Held captive in my own home, my partner has gone to extreme measures to silence me, even cutting off my access to the internet to prevent me from working. But I refuse to be silenced.


With my blog as my only platform, I continue to advocate for those who, like me, have been failed by a system that should protect and uplift its citizens. It is through publicizing my story that I hope to shatter the ignorance that prevails and bring about the change that our community so desperately needs.


Yesterday,  I experienced a deeply disheartening encounter at the police station that left me feeling rejected and mistreated. After enduring another night of my partner's addiction-driven infidelity and deception, I reached out to the Women's Interval Home for support, only to find out they were full and unable to assist me. Determined to seek guidance, I contacted the police station.


A kind female officer reassured me that it was the right time to come in and receive advice on my domestic situation. With hope in my heart, I gathered my belongings and, with my partner locked out, embarked on a walk to the police station. The blistering heat seemed to mirror the frustration and desperation that consumed me. It had taken me two years and a lot of obstacles to get to this moment.


Upon arriving at the police station, I was met with locked doors and an empty front desk. Uncertain of what to do, I used the phone between the doors, but my calls went unanswered. Frustration mounting, I stepped outside and resorted to using my cell phone, struggling with intermittent reception that only added to my anxiety.


Finally, after what felt like an eternity, someone at the police station acknowledged my plea for help. They explained that they were dealing with high-priority calls and promised assistance within 10 minutes. However, as time passed, no one came to my aid. Feeling abandoned and unheard, I reached out to my friend Brian, a city Councillor, for support.


Brian, recognizing the urgency of my situation, took it upon himself to advocate for me. Despite his efforts, no assistance arrived. However, a police car parked in front of the station caught my attention, and the officer associated with the vehicle approached me, unaware of my identity. I explained my predicament, including the mention of my sister's name, which seemed to alter his perception of me. That is far from uncommon. I wonder if I hadn’t had my Kurt Cobain shirt and jeans on, if I would have been taken more seriously than a single mom, waiting outside what seemed like an abandoned building for an hour, in the heat. The officer suggested I come back the next day or call the non-crisis line because the seemingly vacant Police Station was busy.

 

I left feeling defeated and lost. I was trembling inside speaking to him, but I must carry this heaviness so well because my pain is often overlooked as having it together. My voice is my only weapon to protect me and my children now. No one. I mean, NO ONE is coming to save me. This is happening in broad daylight to an educated white woman who has nothing but empathy for addiction and its victims, trying to find solutions for her community, sacrificing her own God damned traumas, to help do so. 


This encounter only strengthened my resolve. I refuse to let the mistreatment and judgment define me. As someone who has overcome addiction and witnessed the underbelly of Sarnia, I have decided to address this injustice with news outlets and use my platform to shed light on the corruption that exists within our community. My story will not be silenced, and I will fight relentlessly for a system that protects and uplifts its citizens. I have decided to speak my truth about the injustices within the system and its corrupt leaders, from a recovered addict who got an education in Human Rights and is old enough to be witness to many instances.


It’s time to put an end to corruption and division in our city's management. We are already a decade behind, so if a Councillor wishes to improve and compare our city to places like Vancouver, they need to acknowledge their privilege and be open to innovation. When visiting, they should take a stroll through their vibrant downtown and observe the investments made in their people that have enabled them to thrive. It's time to explore the establishment of safe consumption sites, where resources in healthcare, social services, and advocacy can be provided to support the well-being of our homeless and unwell individuals, following the example of Vancouver. 


It's also important to note that although Sarnia has a higher income rate, it is mostly due to skilled trades, and many individuals lack education in money management. Therefore, when considering city analytics, it is crucial to recognize that the privileged lifestyles experienced by a small percentage of the population are not representative of the majority. The Councillor should understand this disparity and work towards creating a more equitable and inclusive city.


Furthermore, it is important to acknowledge that the majority of our population does not have the same opportunities for travel and exposure to diverse experiences as those with privilege. Their comparisons are often limited to destinations like Florida, Michigan, or Cuba, where influences may also be dated. In contrast, cities like Vancouver have a diverse population that encompasses business, education, human rights, and a strong understanding of innovation, unlike the aforementioned destinations.


The Councillor must consider these factors when envisioning the future of our city. By embracing inclusivity, fostering education and innovation, and promoting equal opportunities for all residents, we can create a city that truly reflects the aspirations and needs of its diverse population.



My journey is far from over, and I invite you to join me in this battle for justice. Together, we can challenge the status quo, expose corruption, and demand better for ourselves and those who have been failed by the system.

If you are a victim of corruption, or you are also at a standstill with using all the resources available to you, please reach out. We have more power in numbers.


In solidarity with my community.


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1 comment

This type of call should never be turned away. It was legislated about 20 years ago that police mandatory investigate and lay charges. It used to work well. Now nobody at front desk? Where was the S/Sgt. He is supposed to be in charge of station (he/she). The chief and deputy chief seem to be advancing their careers instead of helping the public. The lack of officers might need to be addressed to Federal Minister. Auxiliary police are a joke. We had volunteers do most of that non-police function.

Greg Burkett

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