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by Henkaa Marketing

This blog was originally written by Madeleine Villa.

Trigger warning, this blog while inspiring, may be triggering to some with topics including: abuse, abandonment and mental/physical health.

At first glance you would never suspect Fallon to have gone through as much hardship as she has. You see she’s a successful woman at a young age of 32. With a diploma and undergraduate degree under her belt and currently pursuing a PHD in psychology, she is incredibly smart and driven. A woman of God with a heart of gold - spending her free time volunteering at a women’s shelter. With the little time she has left she runs a personal Instagram account with almost 40 thousand followers and a second Instagram account boasting just over 15 thousand followers, both embracing body positivity and wellbeing. Anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Fallon knows her for her radiating smile, always bringing positive energy into the room! Henkaa has also had the pleasure of working with her as a model. Want to hear the kicker? She also raises three children and her adopted sister as a single mother. Busy is the understatement of the century.

It was clear the moment she began to tell her story that this is a woman whose strength is infinite, a woman who has been through the storm to see the sun shine another day.

 

This is Fallon’s story of abuse, regrowth and inspiration.

 

Her Past: “I’ve gone through a lot of trauma.”

Fallon’s story starts in Dominica, an Island Country in the West Indies. Five months after her birth her mother abandoned her, leaving her grandmother to raise her. Fallon spent her childhood with her grandmother, a kind and nurturing woman she described as her “everything,” her whole family, her “rock.”

At the age of nine Fallon’s mother was ready to take care of her and had Fallon leave Dominica and her grandmother to come live with her in Canada. From the beginning the relationship was strained. For Fallon, because Fallon had never met her mother before and had left everything she new and loved behind in Dominica. And for her mother because Fallon reminded her of her Fallon's father, a toxic relationship. Fallon was abused by the hands and mouth of her own mother. Looking back on the experience Fallon has been able to forgive her mother based on the wisdom that “she was just doing things based on how she was taught. That’s how she knew how to show love so it wasn’t her fault that she would use it as abuse, she didn’t know the difference.” Nonetheless, Fallon left her mother at the age of 16 to go into the shelter system “I finally decided to leave when I realized this was mentally devastating and physically damaging. There was a point where I didn’t think I was going to be able to live.” She had no one in Canada, no one but herself, but Fallon knew that she was important enough to live a better life.

Shortly after going into the shelter system she became pregnant with her first child. Unfortunately, just as her mother was taught that love is shown through manipulation, mental and physical abuse, she too understood love to be shown in such a way. While Fallon says the abuse didn’t start right away with her now ex-husband of her children “It was already embedded in me that abuse is the way someone shows love. So I just took it as what it was. Even though I knew it wasn’t healthy, in the beginning he never showed me that (side of him) it happened after we got married.” Fallon's ex-husband was both mentally and physically abusive to her. She was once hit so hard that she got a concussion. After eight years together and pregnant with their third child, she decided this wouldn’t be the life her and her children were going to live, and she left to go to a women's abuse shelter.  

A lot of Fallon's strength comes from the hardships she has had to face - what makes her such a compassionate volunteer at the women shelter she volunteers at now is due to her ability to know exactly how these women and children feel in that moment. She describes entering a women's shelter as: “A feeling of low self-esteem. You have lost everything, you basically feel degraded (as though)  you have nothing left. You’re just in darkness, everything you have worked for, and everything you thought you were has just been taken away from you. It’s like you have just lost your whole identity.”

She says that her decision to leave her abusive husband was a difficult choice to make, in part because she wanted the best for her children: “When you have been in an abusive situation it is hard to see the way out. As a mom it is hard to leave because of your children, you don’t want them to not be with the father because of this situation and you kind of stay to make things work.”

The breaking point for Fallon was when she realized just how dangerous the situation had become and valued the health of her children and herself over the survival of her relationship.  “We need to realize that we have to put ourselves first, everything else will happen its own time. We have to just take care of ourselves and hold wellness and health as number one. You can’t help anyone else, you can’t help your children, you can’t help your friends if you need help.”

 

Her Re-growth: “Take care of yourself first, that is what I had to learn.”

Once her and her children were safe from further harm, Fallon knew she had to break the cycle of abuse and get help not only for herself but for her children. She went to counselling to rebuild herself and work through some of the trauma she had been put through not only by the hands of her ex-husband but also from the hands of her mother. She also knew it was important for her children to receive trauma counselling so that they could deal with their feelings before they negatively affected themselves and others.

Fallon says that one of the most positive parts of her transition came from her church. She decided to go back to church and says that “my church family helped me through this a lot. I went to church and the pastor and ministers there... they walked me through a lot and helped me to cope with it. They were my rocks through everything and that was what I needed.”  

Fallon with her adopted sister celebrating her 17th birthday.

Image: Fallon with her adopted sister celebrating her 17th birthday! 

It wasn’t until Fallon was admitted to the hospital with stomach ulcers that she met someone who would change her life for the better. During her month long stay she was introduced to, and became friends with Eunice, a woman admitted to the hospital with terminal cancer.

When Fallon recalls meeting her she said “in only ten minutes I felt like we connected so well that I wanted to call her mom the first day.” Eunice would become a kindred spirit and role model to Fallon. Since the first day they met, Eunice “made sure to call me, she came to my room and wanted to know that I was okay. Mind you she was the one who was terminally ill on her deathbed with cancer. But she just wanted to make sure I was out of the hospital. She called me more than anyone in the entire world. I don’t know how much I could thank her.”

Above, image of Eunice as seen on the memorial card given out at her funeral.

Eunice worked at a women’s shelter and could tell that Fallon had been through a similar experience.  As their friendship developed, Eunice would encourage Fallon to go back to school and get her PHD in psychology. “She inspired me so much, she told me I had a story to tell and I needed to tell it and help others. She was my rock.” Eunice was able to help Fallon get a full scholarship to Brock University for a PHD in psychology.

Unfortunately Eunice passed away in September. When Fallon thinks of Eunice she thinks of her not just as a role model or mentor, but as a “second mom”.

 

The Future: “I’m all about having a voice.”

It’s been seven years since Fallon left her abusive ex-husband and her life couldn’t be more different. As mentioned, Fallon is now studying to be a psychologist to help other women just as she was, and on her spare time she continues to support women fleeing abusive relationships at a women's shelter in St. Catherines. Fallon now finds immense strength in her story and enjoys sharing it: “I love to be able to inspire other people, especially other women. I love being able to help other people through those difficult times. If my story can help someone else through something, even if it’s one person to me that’s enough.”

Part of her long term recovery is in helping others, and making sure other women don’t go through the same hardships she did. Having been in the shoes of both the women and shelter workers she says she feels inspired by their stories and a great sense of pride for them. Just as the shelter volunteers and Eunice comforted her, Fallon can now do so for others often telling women that “to get to a shelter means that you have taken a step to get out of the relationship. You have already done the hardest part of the process which is stepping out and now everything else is going to be easier.” Reassuring them that this is not the end but the beginning: “the fact that you took that step, is the biggest thing in the world. You have just changed your whole life. As much as you think your life is over, you have just started to live again and this is your new beginning. Anything you ever wanted you can accomplish it all over again, let’s do this together."

Since her escape Fallon couldn’t be better in her eyes. When asked about it she said, “now I am extremely excited, I have the most energy ever. I think my life is amazing. I look at everyday as a day to help someone, everyday I get the opportunity to complete my dreams, my desires. I wake up with such inspiration. To just look at my children and look at how much they and I have overcome. I can’t tell you enough how grateful I am to God, to everything that I am still here and I didn’t give up!"

But it doesn’t end here - when Fallon thinks about five years from now she sees herself “speaking to hundreds and thousands of women, inspiring them. Releasing my first book and being able to put someone - a woman, through college.”

We can’t wait to see all the amazing things you continue to do Fallon, and we appreciate you telling your story with us at Henkaa.

 

 


 

 

If you, or someone you know is in a crisis please call one of these services for help:

Ontario

Assaulted Women’s Hotline: 1-866-863-0511

We provide: Crisis counselling, Emotional support, Safety planning, Information and referrals for local shelters and legal or health related resources

We exist to listen, support, counsel and empower with information.

Canada

The Redwood: 416-533-8538  

The Redwood is a haven. We’re here to help women and children just like you live free from domestic abuse. Free from fear. Free from threat.

We provide safe and accessible services – from a secure home to counseling to legal support. We help you get your life back on track. And we bring the promise of a better future.

If you’re afraid, call us. It’s the first step. And it can change your life forever.

United States of America

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233

Our highly-trained advocates are available 24/7/365 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.

Canada or US residents find a shelter here: Domesticshelters.org

 

Henkaa Marketing
Henkaa Marketing



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