Lima | Manurewa, Auckland

“I think, for me, growing up in an environment that was really manipulated and controlled by fear and domestic violence, it was easy to fall into that gap of believing what the adults were saying at that time, that you’re useless, worthless, hopeless and nothing.

I think a lot of my journey became about taking that part of my life, and making that part of my identity, and in my faith I discovered who I really am, and that’s far from the words that were spoken over me. So, now my identity is courageous, bold, unique, loving and caring. I’ve embraced this new identity for the future that I’ve got ahead of me.

I grew up here in South Auckland. I was born in Western Samoa, raised in South Auckland. I’ve been living in Indonesia for seven years, and I grew up in a home that was ruled by domestic violence and abuse, and it took some time to come out of that lifestyle. I ended up in drugs and alcohol, and a number of other things became a part of my world, and my world spiralled completely out of control. Now I’m at that point in my life where I’ve learned to unshackle myself from my past and just walk into the great things that are ahead of me.

My faith has been a big thing. Discovering who I am in God has been a big deal but also surrounding myself with people who held me accountable to my healing process. One of the things that I have been doing in Indonesia was my husband and I helped to pioneer a home for sexually-exploited young girls who had been trafficked throughout Indonesia, and it was at that point where my story started to come to the surface, because we could open doors to reaching these girls who were being sex-trafficked all over the place, because part of my past is also coming from a background of prostitution. So, using that part of my story to help these young girls come out of their lifestyle made me stronger and stronger in understanding the value and the power of my story, and helping others break through their dark and broken pasts.

We’re back in New Zealand for a while, because of everything that’s happening, so things are a little bit different. We’ve been back for three months, and so today we’re focussed on trying to get our daughter enrolled into college and trying to build a new normal for her.

Identity is super-important, because if you don’t know who you are, people around you will put who you think you should be onto you. If you don’t discover who you are and what your purpose and calling is it’s easy to get pulled into what others want to put you into, fix you into a box that suits them, suits whatever it is that they want, they need you to fill. So, it’s really important to discover your identity, and I think in discovering your identity, what I’ve come to learn is learning to be brave with your vulnerabilities. When you learn to be brave with your vulnerabilities, then the ability to heal becomes a stronger foundation for you to walk on.”

** For specialised help with family violence free call 0800 456 450 or **

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