I remember the day I came to the refuge with my daughter. I remember the day like it happened yesterday.
It was really scary, but I knew that I have to take the step. You do this or your life is never going to change.
I was thinking about leaving for a long time, but I never had the strength in myself to take the step, as I was worried there would be no one on my side. But in my case, the help came from outside. I went to the women’s clinic and the lady there could see what had happened and she offered to help.
My partner was violent and emotionally abusive. Calling names, it affects you after it’s a long period of time. You’re not sure about yourself, you’re losing yourself. He was physically abusive to me … and my daughter as well. So I remember hugging her, crying, and telling her; ‘I’m sorry, I cannot do anything…’
It was scary to leave because you don’t know where you’re going, you don’t know what to expect. And especially you don’t know what to expect from the abuser. If he found out I was trying to leave I could end up in hospital, or worse.
Solace helped me to flee. It was together, calibrated with social services; they helped me to flee from my home.
When the time came, it was supposed to be like normal day, like nothing was happening. I had just a little backpack with me with documents, just my passport, my daughter’s passport, everything else we had to leave. And that’s it, I only had my phone.
I just dressed up warm because it was winter time. We went and didn’t look back.
When we came to the refuge, we had a lovely staff member who greeted us with a smile. I remember she opened the door and she welcomed us and she showed us the room. It was bigger and better than I expected. They had toys for my daughter. I didn’t expect that. And she was very excited, playing with the toys. They gave us a starter kit, pillows, slippers, things for the bath and some cooking things, which is really nice. I didn’t expect anything and it really helped us with our new start.
It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life, but it’s better to take this step than living like this and not knowing what’s going to happen next. You can get out. Just be brave. You can do it.