Deanne’s childhood is all too familiar, betrayed by the very people who were meant to love and protect her.
The sexual abuse started from the age of six, and with the splintering of the family unit, her exploitation at the hands of whanau became her normal. School was a whole other nightmare, no matter what school she went to, and the bullying just added to the total demise of any sense of identity or self -esteem.
Technically Deanne left college at 14, but in reality, she had been denied the opportunity to attend and settle into a school routine. Smoking and drinking became coping mechanisms for a world that was uncaring and anxiety-ridden.
As Deanne moved into adulthood her antidote for dealing with life was suppression and control “I became very hard on people, made sure that people kept their word, I was black and white” but life kept throwing more challenges at her.
In 2016, struggling to deal with another of life’s curveballs Deanne and Annah crossed paths, and it was if a lifeline had finally been thrown her way.
“I liked Annah from that day on because she heard me. I felt she listened and cared about me even though I was not sure why at that time?. Annah she asked me if I was interested in going to Uni and I said yes.”
Annah went with Deanne to enrol, and when she passed her first paper, she couldn’t wait to text her.
“I wanted to quit university every other day, week, month and year, and Annah would not let me. I didn’t have a good enough excuse, or I couldn’t make up one that she would accept lol. It was so funny because when I went into radio silence, Annah would txt me at exactly the right time.”
“Throughout my whole university education, Dec 2016 – 2020, Annah has encouraged and pushed me to not only achieve greatness in study but in my personal life as well.”
Annah’s support didn’t stop at education; she also opened the doors to a whole different way of eating and living.
“Annah, you truly have been a mother to me. Because you cared about me and believed in me, and saw things in me that I don’t see in myself (my potential) I now feel that I am worthy.”
“I still can’t figure out why you care about me so much, but I know I will never be able to ever repay you for what you have done for me. Without you, I don’t know where I would be. Thank you from my whole heart.”
February 10, 2021