When my partner told me he wanted to kill me, I was absolutely terrified. I was so afraid that I grabbed my young son Leo*, threw a few things into a bag and went into hiding. When we got to where we were going, I found I hadn’t brought anything we needed. You can’t think straight when you’re that scared.
For four years, I had lived my life walking on eggshells around my partner. Sometimes he’d be fine and other times abusive. But I never knew who I was going to wake up next to or who was going to come home from work.
When the abuse became more violent, I reached out to Shine. They didn’t try to pressure me, but gave me practical advice for keeping me and my son safe. It meant the world being able to call and talk to someone who wouldn’t judge me.
Shine put me in touch with a family court lawyer who helped me get a Protection Order. When my partner breached it and was arrested, Police referred me to Shine to undertake specialised safety programmes for both me and Leo.
My son was young and didn’t understand what was going on. He was really upset all the time, but the KIDshine advocate who worked with him was very patient and kind. She helped him to understand the effects of the violence, that it wasn’t his or my fault. Now Leo is doing so well.
The Adult Safety Programme was an eye-opener for me. I recognised patterns I’d carried from an abusive childhood. It gave me time to reflect and realise there were many things I hadn’t thought of as abuse, but were actual abuse. It helped me to learn about the true nature of domestic violence and how to deal with its effects, especially when it comes to parenting my son.
For me, Shine felt like a wraparound service. They helped me, they helped my son, and they referred us to people who could help us further.
Now I’ve got my own place, I feel in control of my life. Even my workmates have noticed a difference in me. I feel safer and calmer, and do more things for myself, like running.
Running is hugely important for my mental health. It’s really the only time I get to myself, me-time. It is such a good opportunity to clear my mind. If I have a bad day, I go for a run, process my bad day and afterwards I’m actually all right.
I’ve run in the Auckland Marathon in previous years, completing the half-marathon and the 11km. When I found out this year I could raise funds for Shine, I was in.
I always rave about how supportive Shine has been for me and Leo. It’s great to be able to pay it forward for others who are escaping abuse.
If you’re thinking of running, then do it! You have time to train. And you have time to fundraise – every little bit helps.
If you would love to join Paula* and Team Shine by running or walking the ASB Auckland Marathon there’s still time, find out more information here or email Carol Herbert or call Carol on 021 192 3548.
*Names changed and representative image used to protect identities.