Windsor women share stories of abuse in graphic novel – Windsor

A group of Windsor women have used colourful cartoons in a graphic novel to tell their harrowing stories of sexual abuse and oppression.

Several immigrant women have helped launch the book that outlines their experiences with difficult subjects like marital rape and workplace harassment.

The Windsor women compiled their stories, along with women from Toronto and Ottawa, in what they are calling a book about resilience.

The graphic novel Telling Our Stories: Immigrant Women’s Resilience tells the stories of sexual assault, workplace harassment and overall oppression. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

Maham Gull helped craft one of the four stories in the book. She left Pakistan to come to Windsor three years ago. Oppression back home propelled her to contribute to the novel. 

“I was terrified, I always needed my father with me or my cousins,” she said. “You can’t walk late at night, you can’t drive late at night. You have to be aware of the areas you go to alone and you have to dress accordingly.”

Silent no more

Gull hopes sharing her story in this graphic novel will help others. 

“Not everybody is comfortable with English, so I think the illustrations are very helpful to understand,” she said.

The book project was spearheaded by the Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants. In Windsor, the story telling was coordinated by the multicultural, non-profit group Windsor Women Working with Immigrant Women.

Trishauna Linton, the group’s program coordinator of women’s services, talked about the importance of discussing the sensitive topic in a way that others could share.  

“It was so important for us to do something like this because this is a topic that is very hush-hush, especially in our immigrant and newcomer population,” she said. “Instead of sitting down and keeping these stories to ourselves, let’s share it, let’s create a tool where we can start conversations all over this city.”

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