Stories from Pinegrove
These stories are by women from Pinegrove, the Saskatchewan Provincial Correctional Centre for women. Following an introduction by a woman who teaches at Pinegrove, the remainder of the stories are the voices of women who continue to be profoundly affected by violence. Listen to their eloquence. They continue to pay a high price.
What is the effect of violence on education? It's time that this question was asked of society. There are many children in our school systems who are labeled as "hyper", socially retarded, with behavioral problems, etc. We have readiness classes for the children who are unable to function properly in regular classrooms. These children are not "bad kids" as many people believe. They are trying the best that they can to survive. So often they are asking for help through their behaviour.
In the stories that follow, some of the women tell us what they endured as children. They tell us why they couldn't concentrate during class time, why they didn't have time to study for exams, why they came to school hungry or tired. Even though these things happened many years ago, their memories are as clear as though they were in school yesterday.
It is not enough for us to simply read about the lives of these women. We must be willing to listen, see the need, and reach out to help.
I grew up in a very large family of 6 boys and 5 girls. Now that I think of it, there was always drinking. But at a young age, I really didn't understand what was going on. I can say today that my dad was an alcoholic and my mother very seldom drank. She was the one that tried to keep the family together. I only remember once my dad hitting my mom, at the time when my mom left him.
I guess there were a lot of problems, but I was too young to understand her reasons for leaving him. We moved to the city with my grandparents.
When I started to drink in school, it was because everyone was doing it. My drinking affected my school marks a great deal. Then, of course, the drugs came along. I really enjoyed this new high. I started to get into the harder drugs. They started to cost more. In order to support this habit, I started to do illegal things. That's how I came to be behind bars. But I always feel that things that happen to you happen for a reason. My coming to jail made me understand and realize what is important. I know that I have to deal with this disease I have. Also that education is important in today's society.