This ‘secret’ website can literally provide an escape for abused women

Who: Interval House (a shelter for abused women and their children), with Toronto agency Union.

What: “The Way to Live,” a new “secret” website offering resources and advice for women trapped at home with an abusive partner during the COVID-19 pandemic.

When & Where: The site is live now. Interval House is driving women to the site via targeted PR through women’s publications, as well as Pinterest ads.

Why: Because domestic abuse has been on the rise during the pandemic. According to Interval House, cases have risen by as much as 25%, although Battered Women’s Support Services said that calls to its support line have increased by as much as 300%.

How: At first glance, “The Way to Live” looks like an innocuous lifestyle site for women, built around content like “The must-get bag” and “4 signs your dry skin needs help.” Holding down the “ESC” key on a computer keyboard, however, transforms it into “The Way to Leave,” a resource for women who need to escape an abusive partner. The corresponding content includes articles like “The getaway bag,” which outlines the essential items women need to pack for an emergency getaway (money, important documents, extra clothes) and “4 signs you’re being abused and need help.”

The site is specifically catering to those women whose online behaviour may be closely monitored by their partner, and are unable go search for key information such as “the signs of abuse.”

And we quote: “We know that abusers are constantly monitoring their partners’ online activity, but on the surface, this site looks just like any other lifestyle blog. What the abuser will never realize is that help is just an escape key away.” — Fazia Mohammed, community programs manager at Interval House.

Chris Powell