Chef goes all out to support Shine

By editor@age.co.nz, Andrew Bonallack -
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ORANGE: Chef Phoebe Clinton-Baker (left) and manager Monique Kloeg at the 10 O'Clock Cookie cafe in Masterton, hosting an "Orange Friday" in support of the Shine domestic violence service.PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK
ORANGE: Chef Phoebe Clinton-Baker (left) and manager Monique Kloeg at the 10 O'Clock Cookie cafe in Masterton, hosting an "Orange Friday" in support of the Shine domestic violence service.PHOTO/ANDREW BONALLACK

A domestic violence survivor says she still finds it hard to "find the right words" and break the silence and shame that goes with violence in the home.

Phoebe Clinton-Baker said she can remember, at age five, her father beating her mother, while she was verbally abused throughout her childhood.

Her passion to create awareness around domestic violence inspired an "Orange Friday" at 10 O'Clock Cookie cafe in Masterton in support of the Shine domestic violence support service, involving raffles, orange-icing cupcakes and donations.

Mrs Clinton-Baker, a chef at the cafe, said her mother left her father after years of domestic violence when they lived in Auckland.

She said she was so lucky to have an "incredible mother and sister" but said services like Shine were not around.

Her father was not the sort of person, at first appearances, that you would expect to behave in a violent way.

"He came from a really top education, good background."

She said that is the nature of domestic violence, in that it could be a man with her father's background, or the polar opposite.

"That's what this is all about - creating awareness, talking about it.

"My mum got herself out of the situation, she was hugely strong. But back then - and still now - people don't want to talk about it, they don't want to know. They would much rather have their heads in the sand, rather than say, this is happening to me.

"Even now, I find it hard to find the right words.

"But if I can be brave and stand up and talk about it, it might prompt someone to say, this is what's happening in my life. This might give a mum some hope."

She moved back to Wairarapa from Australia six months ago with her husband and two-year-old son and was appalled at the domestic violence figures in New Zealand.

"I think it's disgusting. I want to create awareness, so people can talk about this.

"People feel ashamed, but if people were more aware of it, it makes it so much easier to talk about it."

She was five years old when they split from her father, but "I remember so much".

"That's the terrifying thing. The first five years of your life are the most influential."

She credits her confidence today to her amazing mother, who encouraged her to be open and honest.

"I do counselling, and I suffer from anxiety every day."

Shine offered the option of registering for a "orange party", but Mrs Clinton-Baker asked if she could "make it bigger" at her workplace. "It's been amazing, the amount of people that have supported it today - so, so cool."

She said staff jumped on board, volunteering their spare time to set up the cafe with orange decorations.

She was also attracted to Shine because orange is her "safe" colour.

"When I went inside my head, I wrapped myself in orange."

It also suited the Kloegs, the cafe owners, as orange is the national colour of the Netherlands.

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