I don’t know how I used to pick myself up each day and put a smile on my face.

After many years in an abusive marriage, Ruth needed support to end the relationship safely. Her husband had started spying on her and recording her conversations with other people.

“I was at my lowest point, and I just didn’t know what to do,” says Ruth. “A friend of mine told me that we could either come here and ask to speak to someone, or contact the Police, because things had become so unsafe. I didn’t want to involve the Police, so I came here.”


For Ruth, asking for help was a huge step.

“I really struggled to get through the door... I spoke to Hannah. I think if she could just tell that if I wasn’t doing it there and then, I wouldn’t have come back. She was amazing… I’ll be forever grateful. Just the way she listened and she believed me; I felt validated. She made it easy for me to keep talking.”  


The Loft connected Ruth with Aviva, who worked with her to help her navigate leaving the relationship safely. Her support worker Chelsea linked Ruth with a lawyer; helped her with writing an affidavit to get a protection order; organised for her home security to be upgraded and gave her a Safelet (personal alarm).

“Everyone has looked after us so well. Even the contractor that she organised – he didn’t just change the locks and fix my window, he brought hot chocolate for my daughter and me. She was so thrilled.

“Having the security is huge – it makes me feel safe, and like this is my space, this is for me and my daughter. I’m not panicking at every sound.”


Ruth’s daughter Jessica also started having 1:1 support with a tamariki worker, Kaitlin.

“She absolutely loves Kaitlin and looks forward to seeing her every week… I wanted her to have as much support as possible and to feel heard by someone else and she’s so comfortable with Kaitlin.”


Ruth’s journey is ongoing. Aviva connected her with a counselling service, and she’ll be joining one of their group programmes soon.

“Looking back, I don’t know how I used to pick myself up each day and put a smile on my face with everything that was happening, but I did somehow… Now that I’ve left, I’m having very physical reactions to things. I’m still working through the trauma.”


But coming into the Loft that day, telling her story and being believed was a turning point for Ruth.

“I realised that since that day, I’ve slowly started looking people in the eye again. Before I was always hiding…

It was like taking control back, so I could actually leave. I told myself, I only want to do this once and so I want to do it right. Chelsea was with me every step I needed to take, all in my own time, always encouraging and supporting me.”


If Ruth could offer some advice to anyone in a similar situation it would be this:

“Just ask for help… I went through life never asking for help, and as soon as I asked, the help was there, just so much. And you’re not made to do anything, you’re always in control.

“The other thing I’d say to people is something that’s helped me: you did the best you could with the tools you had. And there’s nothing wrong with you, it’s the situation you were in.”