One day, an RCMP officer came to my door. She called before she arrived to take my statement. She was a member of the sex crimes team. Her and another officer came back in the afternoon and took our computer. She saw my panic when I wondered how I would explain the missing computer when my husband came home…. “Don’t worry,” she said. “I’m going to talk to him.” Hours later, she called back. He’d refused to go to the station for questioning and was heading home. Towards us. “He sounded angry.”
She said goodbye and hung up. Now what? I saw his car driving towards the house. I raced around the house gathering up the kids & sent them all to my bedroom where there was a back door. “Stay here. Don’t come out. No matter what.”
I don’t remember if I locked the front door or not – It didn’t matter, he had the keys. I stood on the stairs between where he entered and the kids upstairs, clutching the phone and ready to run up and out with the kids. In hind sight, I should have grabbed the car keys. I didn’t get the car keys.
He came in. Calm at first, trying to explain to me it was going to be OK. It was a mistake, a misunderstanding. I told him to leave. He explained some more. He was calm, but he wasn’t going anywhere. What now? I thought through my choices: Let him in and pretend everything was OK or run for the back door with the kids. If I ran, he’d follow. Could I get up the stairs? Could I get to my room fast enough to lock the bedroom door and slow him down? What if he went out the front door instead? He’d catch us for sure…
There was a knock at the door. Neither of us moved, but the door opened. It was Claude. He said he was a support worker. He had come to make sure everything was OK. My husband tried to explain that we were fine, it was a misunderstanding, he could leave. Claude calmly said, “I’m sorry, I’m not going anywhere until you leave sir.” My husband raged. He yelled and screamed. Claude did not move. Instead, he suggested, “Don’t worry, I’ll wait while you find a place. Maybe look in the phone book?” My husband stormed, he knocked things around in the downstairs office. He tried to explaining and tried an angry rant. He tried to get me to say it was OK. He swore and stormed some more. Claude did not waiver. Eventually my husband found a place to stay at a motel and left. Claude confirmed I was OK and told me to call if he tried to come back. I didn’t sleep that night, but we were safe.
It was only later that I started to fully appreciate what Claude had really done. He kept us safe that night, but he did so much more. By keeping us in our house that night, we didn’t end up in a shelter. We didn’t lose the supports of our neighbours (one of whom on another occasion would come over and talk to my husband when he was screaming through the door). My kids stayed at the same school where many people knew them and were watching out for them. They all knew who my husband was and would tell me if they’d seen him or his car around.
Only recently it’s occurred to me, that forcing my husband to leave was probably not legal. Claude did more than he was required to do and in the process, he changed six lives for the better. Had anyone else been on call that evening, I don’t know where we’d b.
On the day, in the moment, I needed help Claude was there. He did what was right and he didn’t flinch. For that, he’s a hero.
The actions of one person can make such a difference. When in need, everyone deserves a hero like Claude.