One woman’s story of liv­ing with vi­o­lence

The Leader (Tasman) - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS -

In the se­cond of our ar­ti­cles pro­fil­ing the work of Nelson Women’s Refuge,

Jane has two chil­dren, An­nie, 7 and Rob­bie, 5.

She ex­pe­ri­enced vi­o­lence from her hus­band over 10 years in­clud­ing name call­ing, put downs, threats, con­trol­ling where she went and who she spent time with, con­stantly call­ing to check her where­abouts and phys­i­cal vi­o­lence.

Jane was felt com­pletely iso­lated and afraid that no one could help her. She had tried to leave be­fore but al­ways be­lieved her hus­band’s prom­ises to change his be­hav­iour.

The last time she had be­gun the process of ap­ply­ing for a pro­tec­tion or­der, but stopped af­ter her hus­band begged her not to shame him to his fam­ily and work­place and promised if she came back then this this time life re­ally would be dif­fer­ent.

How­ever, once the ‘‘hon­ey­moon phase’’ was over, the abuse con­tin­ued and when her hus­band hit her one night, Jane called the Refuge 0800 Cri­sis­line num­ber.

It was late and Jane had fled to her sis­ter’s. She was safe for the night. The next day Jane and the chil­dren en­tered the Refuge Safe­house, and their jour­ney to safety be­gan.

Jane said of this time: ‘‘My spirit was bro­ken; I didn’t know how to go on, or whether there was any help for me…all I knew was that this (the vi­o­lence) had to stop. I knew it wasn’t right and I was be­side my­self wor­ry­ing about what it was do­ing to the kids. I didn’t know what was go­ing to hap­pen to us, where we were go­ing to live, what we would live on, and whether he would come for us.

‘‘I was ex­hausted. I be­lieved ev­ery­thing my hus­band told me, that I was a use­less mother, that no­body liked me and I would never find any­one again who would put up with me…let alone love me.

‘‘The Refuge pro­vided me with the space to rest and gather my thoughts and then helped me to make the ap­point­ments I needed and came with me for sup­port.’’

Jane ap­plied for a pro­tec­tion or­der and an in­terim par­ent­ing or­der and both were granted, as well as an oc­cu­pa­tion and fur­ni­ture or­der mean­ing she and the chil­dren could go back to their own home, the chil­dren could stay at their school and be near their friends. Her hus­band had to va­cate the fam­ily home and abide by the con­di­tions of the or­ders.

Jane: ‘I felt bad for him, but I also knew that his be­hav­iour wasn’t go­ing to stop un­less he chose to stop and that his be­hav­iour was not my fault’.

The Refuge Child Youth Ad­vo­cate worked with the chil­dren to help them to un­der­stand that the vi­o­lence was not their fault and to de­velop in­di­vid­ual safety plans and have their own sup­port and ad­vo­cacy.

Jane was keen for the chil­dren to at­tend the Refuge Ta­mariki Pro­gramme which they com­pleted to­gether the fol­low­ing school term.

Jane also at­tended the Refuge Women’s Pro­gramme as she wanted to un­der­stand the dy­nam­ics of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence and loved the sup­port­ive group ses­sions with other women who had ex­pe­ri­ences sim­i­lar to her own.

‘‘Be­ing with the other women was great, so sup­port­ive and no pres­sure or ex­pec­ta­tions, no judge­ments. A few of us still meet up for a cof­fee from time to time.

‘‘Refuge helped me to find my strength to keep me and my kids safe, and the pro­gramme re­ally brought home that I had done the right thing. I know that I can call them (Refuge) any time I am feel­ing wob­bly and need to chat.’’

If you or any­one you know is in a vi­o­lent re­la­tion­ship, you can call Nelson Women’s Refuge 24/7 on 0800 16 33 44 for ad­vice and sup­port.

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