A 48-year-old mother of seven, I suffered for 28 years before finally deciding to separate from my abusive partner. I wasn't afraid that he would beat me, I was convinced that he would kill me!

At first, I hesitated to file a police complaint for fear of how he might react, but as I learned more about the services provided by a local shelter, I realised that I could escape my tormentor. I also decided to press charges.

Living with an abusive father, my children also suffered psychological stress and economic hardship. Leaving was not easy, but with the support of social workers, a local shelter and a safe space to recover, I got a job as an administrative assistant in a municipal office.

I admit that it was difficult, but with the [mental health] support, legal aid and skills training, I healed a lot. Essential services for survivors of domestic violence are a lifeline.

I no longer feel like a prisoner, cornered, or betrayed. There are so many things one goes through as a victim, including the psychological [persecution] but now I know that I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to.