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“Reclaiming another woman” is a good description of what I have gone through these past weeks and months. To reclaim is to take the foundations hidden beneath the waters and raise them up and build on them to become something fruitful and purposeful. With support from organisations such as H.A.I.P. and RAW. and real friends, I am understanding the power and control that was upon me and now I no longer live as a victim of abuse.

When I first heard about RAW. I thought I didn’t qualify and that my situation was invisible. My problems were financial and emotional rather than physical however, as my abuser lost control of me with my empowerment the physical abuse escalated. I was flitting between wealth and poverty; totally fragile but putting on a stylish front.

I can see it for what it is now that I am away from the relentless voice making decisions for me. Now I have empowering voices and information which is liberating. I know what I stand for, and who I want to be and can make healthy decisions for my children and I.

One thing I still sought was a mentor with networks that would help me to rejoin society and rebuild my confidence so that I could get an independent income for my household.

It was perfect timing when I heard about the launch of RAW. I had read about Annah Stretton in her book Wise Heart and long admired her ‘can do’ attitude and entrepreneurial abilities. I knew if she had committed to finding mentors in our own community to partner with women of untapped potential, then mentors would be found.

I was surprised however, when only seven days later after the opening I got a phone call from Rebecca who runs RAW that she had the perfect match in mind and asked if I could come for an interview. I am so blessed to be matched with such a well connected woman and we have some common interests to enjoy as well.

It is empowering to know that I can also give something of myself to my mentor as well as draw on her experience. I was surprised to learn that not that long ago she arrived in this city not knowing anyone, and now she sits on the board of several community organisations.

It is the self-belief and confidence that makes a difference, and sometimes who you know is just as important as what you know. I have the qualifications, the experience and skills and was just waiting to connect with the right opportunity. Now I have the connection and I look with hope to the future as a reclaimed woman.

Thank you H.A.I.P. Womens Refuge, and RAW.

Bless you all,

From a women supported by RAW (names will not be made public without consent)