Home' The Mirror Queenstown Lakes : November 14th 2012 Contents 8
ON JOHN DEERE MOWERS
CENTRAL OTAGO'S LEADING
JOHN DEERE DEALER
12 Elspeth Street, Cromwell • PH 03 445 1046
Stay strong', former victim advises
One in three women in New
Zealand will experience partner
violence at some point in their
Only 20 per cent of abuse cases
More than 3500 convictions are
recorded against men each year
for assaults on women.
On average, 14 women a year
are killed by their partners or ex-
Better life: Former domestic abuse victim Kelly Rukuwai hard at work at the manicure business she started in Alexandra.
Ms Rukuwai wanted to share her story to show those affected by domestic abuse they can build a better life.
White ribbon ride
What: A week-long motorcycle tour which visits 80 towns
across New Zealand to promote a violence-free culture
Who: Anyone can join the tour free of charge.
Where to see it: On November 19 the ride will stop at
Wanaka Primary School from 9.10am till 9.50am; McNulty Rd,
Cromwell, at 11.45am, and Earnslaw Park, Queenstown, at
By CHE BAKER
For one Central Otago woman
meeting the man of her dreams
turned out to be a nightmare.
Kelly Rukuwai was living in
Dunedin when she met a man she
thought was perfect.
They lusted after each other and
six months later moved to Central
Otago and were expecting their
Her partner's job meant he was
out of town a lot but they bought
some land and she become
involved with the community,
building up a good set of friends.
However, she soon become preg-
nant again and ''that's when it
Ms Rukuwai's ''nightmare'' (what
she now calls her former partner)
was away from home for periods
of time, then on his return would
beat her. He beat her under the
influence of drugs and alcohol and
began to manipulate, control and
After finally getting the encour-
agement to notify someone about
the abuse and violence, Ms
Rukuwai and her two children
were shipped away from their
home for five weeks.
''He was imprisoned and I was
But it was short-lived. Nine
months later he was released from
jail and managed to get back into
the home and into her life and
soon she was back at square one --
being beaten, manipulated, con-
trolled and isolated.
She left again, only for the extent
of the abuse to escalate on her
''One night he beat me so bad.
This time the marks he left were
to my face and body. I went to
work as normal and soon my
bruises were noticed. The next
day I turned to a good friend who
took me to the police to file a
report for domestic violence.''
Her partner was arrested and
sentenced to 18 months' home
During that time Ms Rukuwai
endured harassment from his
mother and she and her former
partner also convinced her own
mother she was in the wrong.
''I think it was, as always, to make
sure I knew that he still had the
''After extensive counselling I
grew strong; I grew so strong I
managed to fight to make sure I
was not going to get hurt again
and my children were kept safe.''
She was saddened by thoughts she
missed watching her children
grow, despite them always being
there, because she was trying to
cope with what was going on and
how she was going to survive.
Deep down she knew if she had
stayed she would have ended up
dead -- either by the hands of her
''nightmare'', or her own, because
it would end the pain from the
beatings and verbal abuse.
With the help of Family Works,
Jigsaw, Strengthening for famil-
ies, O'Neill Devereux consultants,
Income Support, Alexandra
police, friends and family, today
her life is on a better track.
She has met a new partner, given
birth to another child and has
opened her own business.
Things still need to be taken one
step at a time but the pain has
finally stopped, replaced by love,
warmth and affection.
''If you need help remember there
are people out there to help:
friends, family, services and
funnily enough even strangers.
''The only thing I'll tell you is be
strong and find your strength to
She asks that on November 25
people support White Ribbon Day,
because it supported her.
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