Fay Pouesi believes all women are born with potential.
But sadly that potential can be buried under feelings of self-doubt and low self esteem, a result of growing up in an abusive environment where family violence is endemic.
The Glendene resident is a counselling facilitator and founder of Westside Counselling Services and knows too well the negative effects abuse has on women.
She experienced it first hand.
"Things happen that bury that potential. If you can come into a place of healing, and then tap into that potential, women can become nurses and lawyers," she says.
"But in order to get to that potential, you have to start pulling back layers and addressing the stuff that's sitting there and doesn't belong any more."
In an act to take a stand against violence towards women, Waves Trust will run the Waitakere White Ribbon Parade on November 23, to let people know family violence is not OK.
White Ribbon offers men the opportunity to be part of the solution to ending violence towards women.
Violence is endemic within New Zealand, with one in three women experiencing violence from a partner in their lifetime.
An average of 14 women are killed each year by a member of their own family.
Mrs Pouesi uses her personal experiences to change other's lives.
"To make changes with my own life, I needed to have awareness, insight and knowledge around what was going on," she says.
Mrs Pouesi noticed that she was seeing a low number of Maori or Pacific Island women.
"My knowledge was that family violence was very high in West Auckland and there were programmes running but these women weren't coming through," she says.
"My passion was to find a way where I could set up a programme for these women."
Mrs Poesi ran a group programme out of Massey Community Church in 2000. But she knew an eight to 10-week programme would not change the women's lives.
A Community of Care approach was established where women attended counselling, group work, pamper days, retreats and joined sports teams to engage with other community members.
A further programme, Celebrate Recovery, was launched offering support for men and women, based around specific topics including relationships or anger.
Mrs Pouesi says extreme violence isn't talked about enough in New Zealand.
"We don't talk about the type of violence that goes on behind closed doors, it's just violence. But the reality is that there's extreme violence and it's brutal," she says.
"It's where women aren't sure whether they're going to be alive the next day.
"There are different levels of violence and as a country, we need to start talking about that," she says.
Man Alive clinical manager Jim Heays says family violence is a societal problem, not just a man's problem. Man Alive supports men and boys of all ages to gain understanding and strength in their relationships with partners, children, family and friends through programmes that encourage a respectful environment.
"Men, like women, are born perfect and they learn their behaviours. The environment at Man Alive enables them to relearn behaviours. Men can really make changes," he says.
Manager of Waves Trust Poto Williams says the parade is the community's way of saying violence isn't OK.
The Waitakere White Ribbon Day Parade will commence at Waitakere Hospital at 1pm and will end at Falls Park down Alderman Dr, Henderson.
Visit whiteribbon.org.nz for more information.
- Western Leader
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