Two years ago, Rachel Davies was living a nightmare - facing daily verbal and physical lashings from her then partner.
She recalls looking at her life and wondering how anyone could go through such abuse, but was unable to see a way out.
He was a P addict with a previous history of domestic violence who would "snap" in an instant - she was young, frightened and had a child to protect.
Things escalated to the point where she was stabbed in the leg, hit in the head where bruises could be hidden, and abused in front of her son.
"When I was a teen I was living in Auckland and started dating the typical guy who wasn't very good for me, the last relationship was very abusive, at one point the police turned to Women's Refuge staff and said, 'he's going to kill her'," she told Hawke's Bay Today.
"He was really nasty, but after what the police officer said, I knew something had to change so I went into Auckland Women's Refuge to get away from him."
She took out a protection order, which was breached twice. Shortly afterwards, Ms Davies moved back to Hawke's Bay where she was born, and two years later has completely turned her life around.
"With support from the refuge and my grandmother I have changed everything, I was going nowhere fast.
"It took me a long time to realise, he beat me down so I thought I couldn't get out of it, you become sort of broken and numb."
Now 26 and mum to a second son, Ms Davies was in a "good place" and will be sharing her harrowing story at a Hastings Women's Refuge organised event called, True Stories of Everyday People.
The series of three talks were a chance for abuse victims to talk about their experiences, in the hopes of helping others.
"I am so scared of public speaking, but if it changes one person's life, it's worth it," Ms Davies said.
Other guest speakers included locals Walter and Debbie Joe and national It's Not OK champion, Vic Tamati.
The talks were a preview to Woman's Refuge Appeal Month, which runs throughout July.
The free True Stories of Everyday People events will be held at St Andrews Church Hall from 9.30am tomorrow and Thursday, and at 6.30pm tomorrow at Elim Church.