Photograph by Denise Beckwith

“Never ever in my life had I been treated like that or disrespected like that in any way shape or form till then. He was a very possessive, jealous man, I couldn’t even go to the shop without him, without him thinking stupid or without him being by my side. I would be black and blue every week from beatings.

He demanded I come home when I was helping a friend care for their sick child. I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was trying my hardest to keep my eyes open. I didn’t see lights of a car I heard the wheels screeching in my ears like as if I heard … like that and then by then .. BOOM.  It’s over. The police said to me that I shouldn’t have survived it for a start, I shouldn’t have survived the accident. He took advantage of the situation and yell and scream and abuse me and want to give me a hiding in my hospital bed. He got banned and then the children ended up going to Child Youth and Family. I was still strong and I fought for them you know and the children stayed with me.

My focus is my children, I keep them in front of my face, as long as I have them in front of me and the lord, that is my direction, it keeps me on track.

I think it is what I am made up of. My makeup gives me my strength; I was born that way. It’s in the DNA. It’s all written in the DNA.”

– Roberta New Zealand 2017