For years now I have had a dream, a way to really help women leaving an abusive relationship truly get back on their feet and regain their independence. It is constantly in the back of my mind, I know it would work; I just don’t know how to get it off the ground.
First; The reasons why women stay and the obstacles they face when they do leave.
1. No money, no way to support themselves so they are faced with living off of welfare (which in Canada is barely surviving let alone living)
2. Children, if they are young the woman wants to stay until the kids are in school. It is overwhelming to think of trying to find work, find day care, afford day care while working a minimum wage job.
3. :Low self esteem – they don’t feel they are capable of surviving- after all the N has been telling them they will never make it on their own and no other man will want them.
4. If they leave with nothing – how do they get things like furniture.
5. Many times they don’t even have a vehicle.
6. As in my case the N is sabotaging their efforts and vehicle in order to keep them dependent on the N.
7. They are emotional wrecks, crying, unable to even think let alone start a new job and work 8 hours a day.
8. Lacking job skills or their skills are out dated.
9. No support network.
10. They can’t see their life ever improving, dead end job, welfare, can’t provide for their children it becomes overwhelming and then the N comes along and promises them he will change and love bombs them and they go back because the bad memories have faded and at least if they go back they have hope. I know for me – the thing I missed the most was having hope.
When I refused to take JC back when he came back from Africa and he left for Saskatchewan I did very well. I always did well when he and I split. I credit that to having my truck and a way to make money plus I was able to furnish my place for free by getting things for free off of Craig’s List, picking up stuff that was on the side of the road with a “free” sign on it. I was able to move my stuff, I picked up things and refinished them for resale, I was able to make money any given day of the week because I was self employed and could work as much or as little as I wanted. If I had cried all night I didn’t go to work until later in the day but it gave me a reason to leave the house and force myself to go out there and not hide in the house all day. As soon as I was out of the house my mood and outlook improved because I felt productive and in control of my life plus it forces you to smile and then people smile back. When people see a woman working hard they tend to want to help. I never had to look for work; word of mouth kept me busy.
Everyone loved the name of my company “Lady Witha Truck”, they remembered it, they gave me thumbs up at traffic lights, they stopped me in the grocery store “You’re the lady with a truck!” Men love women who drive a truck, women love women who drive a truck. I had just as many women saying things like “You go girl!” as I did men. That has GOT to be good for a person’s ego and self esteem. I LOVED MY TRUCK, I HAVE NEVER LOVED A JOB MORE.
I miss it.
As much as I loved my truck; JC hated it more because it was the one thing that kept him from controlling me. I made a fatal error. When he came back saying he had been given 6 months to live and that had given him an epiphany and he now knew I was all the woman he would ever want or need I thought I was independent enough to just walk if he fell into his old ways. I had been paying for my own truck maintenance, and I was in a vulnerable position because my trailer was being sold, so I took a chance; not thinking he would be evil enough to stay awake all night sabotaging my truck. At first I was able to keep up with the repairs, paying a shop to do the work but when your truck is down, not only do you have the cost of repairs, you aren’t working while it is in the shop. After spending $2000 in cash for repairs I was able to get credit at some shops, when I maxed that out I got a personal loan from the scrap yard and was able to pay them back in 2 months giving them 20% of what I made every time I brought a load in. Pretty damn good money. It must have pissed JC off to no end that for a year I was able to stay on top of it, but once a psychopath decides to destroy you they are vigilant and undaunted. Eventually I ran out of credit and was reliant on him to do the repairs and that is when the abuse got really bad and that is when I gave up. I never did recoup, my truck never ran right again and I had to down size and get an older truck, I had lost customers due to not being reliable, my spirit was broken, I had to switch where I took my scrap because he was showing up at the scrap yard and lived in the area.
I had it right at the tip of my fingers, I had it, and he stomped on my fingers and I let it go.
So what is my dream, the dream that has plagued me for literally years and is constantly in the back of my mind? Well, I will try to explain it in point form
Approach a company such as Ford. (They would be perfect because they have trucks in all sizes from F150’s to F650’s, Vans from passenger vans to E750 and higher cargo vans) about leasing a fleet of trucks for 5 years (that is the usual lease agreement isn’t it? or financing over 5 years, whichever.
Get the government to agree to a 5 year plan where women leaving an abusive relationship are guaranteed to receive their full benefits and daycare subsidy for 5 years no matter how much money they make in that 5 years. This is the tough part. It would save the government a ton of money over the long haul because at the end of 5 years the women would be self sufficient and off welfare, contributing to the economy, not visiting the ER because they have been beat up, the children would be healthier and happy because their mother is self sufficient and confident and can provide a decent home for her kids, (less juvenile delinquents, less abuse, less so many negative things)
Women leaving an abusive relationship join the “Ladies Witha Truck” franchise group.
– They choose a profession they are passionate about, anything that requires a truck, such as landscaping, parts delivery, hotshot delivery, rubbish removal, poopy scooping, dog walking (I saw a guy picking up dogs from my brothers apartment building, people pay for their dogs to get exercised, I thought of Kelly right away), pilot trucks for over sized semi’s, grocery shopping, lumber and supplies to job sites, construction site cleanup, tow truck, lunch truck, catering for the movie industry, house cleaning, scrap recycling, card board recycling, the possibilities are endless. i am sure you can think of many I have missed.
– Once they choose their profession they choose an appropriate truck for the job, some will be more expensive than others but they will all be brand new trucks that will be maintained at a Ford dealership, no major breakdowns or expensive repairs to worry about and no ex N able to sabotage it while he “helps her out”. It is not in her name so he can not take ownership of it.
– They choose their hours, most of the above professions have flexible hours, if they have children to get off to school they can work from 9-3, they can have a child ride with them for an hour or two. A baby can be in a car seat and the mom can still breast feed etc.
– They don’t have to worry about drumming up customers, there is a central dispatch where people can call one number for all the services the ladies provide. I think people would love to help out a bunch of ladies trying to get on their feet and many times a customer needs more than one service, they may need scrap removal, rubbish removal and recycling Ladies could handle it all.
– If the woman has counseling, things at the school to attend etc she has the ability to attend without losing money or her job.
– With a 5 year plan,even if the woman has a new born baby by the time she is on her own all her children are in school.
– a percentage of what she makes goes to paying for the truck, she is still getting her welfare benefits so any extra money improves her life style but she can afford to make pretty hefty payments on the truck. In 5 years it is quite possible to have the truck paid off.
– At the end of 5 years, the woman has a paid for truck, is self employed in a proven and successful business, has clients, and is part of a franchise, she never has to pay for advertising, doesn’t have to worry about the book keeping, the ex can not ruin it for her because the dispatch etc is out of her control. It is practically impossible for the ex to ruin it for her unless she goes back to him.
Almost every one has a drivers license and if they don’t it is easy to get one and they will need one anyway. Having a truck gives them independence immediately, enables them to furnish their home, transport their children and make a living.
It doesn’t require a nice wardrobe, or special education except maybe some volunteer mentoring from local business people.
They can choose something that they are passionate about and interests them.
Any stumbling blocks a new business has is dealt with by the main the office.
There is a support system in place for when they feel inferior, overwhelmed or discouraged.
The community could get involved and offer support services to the women, hair salons could donate a hair cut, or a a counselor could commit to holding a free once a week group session, an accountant could do simple tax returns for a reduced price or free, the local paper could give the company free advertising, members of the community could offer used furniture etc (I furnished a two bedroom basement suite with nice stuff that didn’t cost me a dime except my gas to go pick it up) the possibilities are endless.
The best part is that at the end of 5 years not only are the women self supporting, completely healed and proud of what they have accomplished BUT the program would be self supporting after 5 years. Once the first group of women are through their 5 years they continue to pay a small portion of their income to the franchise (which is pretty typical with franchises) for things such as dispatching, office rental etc and continued support.
The women are never at any time thrown to the wolves and told “get over it”, “You should be happy you are away from the asshole, just get a job, stop feeling sorry for yourself”.
I have spent the better portion of the last 3 years struggling to make a livable income, I think that is one of the woman’s biggest fears and seeing him go off and merrily leave her struggling to make ends meet while he lives the good life only slows her healing. If she could earn decent money and have hope for the future I believe she would heal a lot faster and be able to walk away much easier.
I was told by a big businessman who was visiting at my mom’s that “Lady Witha Truck” was a name I should franchise because it is so catchy and memorable. He thought I could make a fortune just off of the name and never really work, but I didn’t know how that would be possible. I have a bit of a reputation on line, been written up in the newspaper, I am still recognized as the lady with a truck, I just wrote an article for “18 Wheels and Heels” who support domestic violence awareness and women who drive trucks. It seems to all fit together.
Tell me I am nuts, blow holes in my idea PLEASE!! so I can stop thinking about it because it is driving me crazy and I don’t know how to get it off the ground. Maybe someone has some ideas to make it better, I almost wish you all would tell me that its a stupid idea, it would never work and forget it.
Here’s your chance. Lay it on the line!! Thanks for reading and your input.