Claire escaped an abusive relationship three years ago but says leaving was just the first step she had to take, not the last.

Claire, not her real name, and her son were physically beaten by her ex-partner, but she says it was the constant mind games and psychological abuse that has had lasting effects.

"Oh yeah, we would get into scraps, there was hair pulling and choking.

"He was calculating, he'd make sure he only hit me on my torso so the marks could be easily hidden - this was while I was pregnant as well ... My boy bore the brunt of the physical violence.


"For me I was locked in psychologically. He would play mind games, belittle me, make me look hysterical to my family - like I was the one who didn't have my stuff together. Even now I am still trying to fix those relationships.

"It got to a point where we were all constantly walking on egg shells.

"He wouldn't let my eldest live with us so I was only able to see him at certain times.

"This really strained my relationship with my boy because for him it was like I was choosing this man over him."

Claire said her ex-partner would create drama then "feed off it".

"He loved that I felt like I had no worth, that I was scum, filth.

Related articles:

9 May, 2016 8:14am
6 minutes to read
9 May, 2016 9:17am
Quick Read
9 May, 2016 7:52pm
2 minutes to read
10 May, 2016 12:30pm
3 minutes to read

"We were co-dependent. He'd start abusing me, I'd go to the police, leave him, then take him back because he had the money," she said.

"He was playing all these games and I was his puppet."

She said the marks of physical abuse eventually faded but her reputation was not as easily repaired.

"I remember this one time I was out on the deck having a glass of wine and listening to some music. He locked me out of my own house and started threatening me. I jumped in the car for my own safety and ended up getting a DIC (Drunk in Charge).

"My ex was really pleased about that because it meant I had a record like he did - we were the same level, I had a black mark across my name. For him it was all about disintegrating my self worth. I'm a strong woman but he played on my vulnerability.

"For many women, myself included, leaving is just the first step, not the last. You have to repair these damages to your reputation, your psyche - many can't get rentals because their ex tore up the last place they were living in, it's societal issues like that creating barriers for women trying to break free of abusive relationships.

"I left my relationship three years ago and my ex is still playing games with me. He told a sworn officer he would kill me, he's breached the protection order I have against him over and over again.

"It hasn't been an easy road but I knew I needed to leave not only so I could regain my dignity, my mana, but for my babies as well.

"I want to be a voice for other women who have been silenced. I plan to share my story and turn this negative time in my life into a positive."

Where to get help:

- Waiariki Women's Refuge, (07) 349 0852
- Family Focus Rotorua (07) 346 2096
- It's Not OK helpline 0800-456-450
- Shine, national helpline 0508-744-633
- If it is an emergency call 111