We moved to Taupō to get away from my ex-partner who was abusive. We have a child together so there was always going to be some sort of contact. We began meeting half way to pick up and drop off our daughter for visits. After a while we even began being friendly towards each other.
It was not long after this that Steve moved to Taupō and got a job. He started to slowly become more involved in our lives and then before I knew it we were back in a relationship and living together. Looking back from beginning to end was only like four months.
It did not take long before the controlling behavior started and then the abuse. After one particular bad night my eldest daughter phoned the police and Steve was taken away. I received a call from the Taupō Women's Refuge and they explained who they were and what they could provide. I was taken aback from the call initially but the advocate on the phone was really helpful and made me feel at ease. I agreed to meet and have a chat.
From this a really simple safety plan was done for me and the kids. We talked about what Family Violence was, the effects on everyone, the process of what would happen from now. It was a great feeling to be listened to, to be believed and to be reassured that it is not my fault. Because of the past violence other services became involved. The Refuge advocate was able to support me the whole way through this, I am not sure I could have done it without them.
I attended their weekly Women's Support Group and was able to laugh, cry and vent in a safe and healthy environment. I remember the Refuge advocate telling me in the beginning to take little steps and do things day by day. The best advice I could have taken on board. When everything is falling apart you just want it to be fixed now! I am able to look back to the beginning of my journey to now and realise that without the support from Women's Refuge, my friends and colleagues, I think I would have been stuck in that cycle of always going back. The weekly support group helped me to see and realise the cycles, signs, tactics, the why's and the how's. It enabled us all to get past the guilt we felt and the embarrassment!
My children and I now live without fear and violence, we no longer walk on egg shells. I really feel that with the education and support I received from Refuge, I can now see the early signs and know exactly what it is I want from a healthy relationship. I pride myself in being able to provide this for me and my children.