Photography by Denise Beckwith

“I thought I’m not going to be in that same situation but unfortunately, I ended up right there.  He was an islander, violence around alcohol, drugs as well and other women. My daughter was born when I was16. The violence started happening until about when she was two. At that time, I didn’t see it because I was just going through it, but then my mum could see it and she was telling me but I did not listen, I did not listen, I did not see it. I know I reported probably twice but there have been over nine incidents of physical violence towards me. One day, I couldn’t stand it anymore, just like walking around and seeing people your partner has slept with, I couldn’t handle it, I couldn’t even handle my kids going to the same school as their kids. So, the last straw was that one, I just felt stupid and if I stayed I would be more stupid, so I left. It was the best decision I made, and I really wish I did listen to my mum and do it sooner.

When I left him, I started going to counselling, I started to do some healing on my own by exercising, eating right, losing weight and focusing on my four kids. I decided to go to study a graduate diploma in secondary school teaching and I have just been given a scholarship for teaching Maori. Everything is falling into place, my kids seem so much happier.

I hope my daughters will not become a part of this cycle.”

– Waitonga, New Zealand 2017