Rachel Axis' life spiralled into abuse, drug addiction, and even near-death when authorities wouldn't take her sexual assault seriously.

If it were not for loved ones and learning about self-love, she would not be alive to help others going through abuse, she says.

Axis, partner of musician Tiki Taane, was a young girl when her dad left and started a family with another woman, triggering an onset of abandonment issues and confused identity, Te Waha Nui reports.

Rachel Axix now focuses on family, friends and self-love. Photo / Shannon Armstrong
Rachel Axix now focuses on family, friends and self-love. Photo / Shannon Armstrong

"I grew up in a really eventful family. We were constantly moving around because of business and I was always bullied [at school]," she said.

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Axis said she was bullied at five of the nine schools she attended.

"I never really felt grounded. I felt like I was on eggshells or I never really had a place to call home.

"It's probably only been this year I've been able to talk about it without crying," she said.

Starting at yet another college, Axis felt she had to be the "cool kid" to fit in, and snuck out to a party where she got drunk for the first time.

"The party got broken up by the police, so we ran off and the chick I was staying with had gone. That's the night I got raped," she said.

At just 13, Rachel woke up in a park naked – her virginity had been taken without her consent.

She went to the police, who completed forensic tests.

"They were going to charge me for wasting police time because they believed I was just drunk."

"It's horrible. I ended up dropping the charges because I was embarrassed, and the police were intimidating me."

Axis was later assaulted by five girls when she went back to school because she was the girl "that cried rape".

"I hated authority. I had been let down by everybody who was supposed to protect me," she said.

Axis protected herself by turning to people in the meth scene who welcomed her with open arms.

Soon she faced multiple assault charges herself and had entered a drug-fuelled and abusive relationship.

Eventually she escaped the relationship and began to have hope when, in a similar case in America, a girl's rape-victim report was released to the public.

Like Axis' abuser, the rapist was popular and succeeding in sport.

"That's when I started going, 'I need to invest in myself'."

She turned to fitness and found personal trainer and self-love coach Kayla Anderson.

Anderson taught Axis to be positive about herself and focus on her strengths.

"It's been really hard. I still have negative days but it's not just something that's [easily] fixed and sorted," she said.

Rachel Axis with her partner Tiki Taane. Axis is training to be a social worker and wants to work with people with addictions in the community. Photo / Jaden McLeod
Rachel Axis with her partner Tiki Taane. Axis is training to be a social worker and wants to work with people with addictions in the community. Photo / Jaden McLeod

Partner Tiki Taane said: "It's so overwhelming for her to revisit the trauma that I wonder how on earth she can heal and move forward.

"But she does find a way, and is determined to not let the bad stuff that happened to her pull her down."

Taane said Axis, who is training as a social worker, was now in a safe and loving environment where she had support to heal.

"We are coming up to five years in our relationship and I'm super proud at what we've both achieved together.

"We've been through so many testing times where most couples would've fallen apart, but instead we have managed to find strength, love and understanding."

Anderson said building "self-love and a caring relationship with our self ultimately affects all areas of our lives".

"As we embark on our health journey, it is so important to make this a priority."

Anderson said seeing Ms Axis' transformation from self-sabotage to loving and accepting her body and soul has been a heart-warming experience.

A police spokesperson contacted by TWN said sexual assault was taken very seriously by police and they encouraged women to report it.

Their complaint would be investigated and they would be offered appropriate support, said the spokesperson.

"We want victims to know that they will be treated with respect and that we will do everything we can to support them throughout the process."

This story was originally published by Te Waha Nui's writer Olivia Fairhurst.

If you're in danger NOW:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault.

Where to go for help or more information:

NZ Police
Help Auckland 24/7 helpline 09 623 1700
Rape Prevention Education
Wellington Help 24/7 crisisline 04 801 6655, push 0
Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 REFUGE or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and Middle Eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• White Ribbon: Aiming to eliminate men's violence towards women, focusing this year on sexual violence and the issue of consent. www.whiteribbon.org.nz