When Jackie Clark quit her job and founded The Aunties in 2013, it started as a grassroots charity helping wāhine and children rebuild their lives after trauma.
Years on and hundreds of lives impacted later, Clark is releasing Her Say, a collection of those women's stories told in their own words.
“I can’t even say how proud I am of them,” she said of the women whose stories were featured in the book.
“They’re raring to speak.”
Clark was joined by Kylie and Eseta on Breakfast today, two of the women featured in the book.
“I can’t believe how broken I was. Everything happens for a reason. I sit here today wanting to be able to make a difference and give people hope,” Kylie said.
“You know, my mum, she struggled herself. She tried her best with us kids and she had quite a horrific upbringing as well.
“Now that I’m out at the other side … with a lot of therapy, a lot of self-worth, a lot of accountability and owning my own stuff, some hard decision-making, I have a life that I can be proud of.”
She credits her therapist for helping her overcome her use of drugs and alcohol.
“She loved me when I couldn’t love myself,” Kylie wrote in Her Say.
Eseta said she hopes her children can be inspired by her experiences.
“For a mother of four and from where I came from and what I’ve been through myself, I feel that with everything that I’ve triumphed through, deserving just to get help and to feel like that it’s OK to be helped … it feels amazing.”
Kylie and Eseta say it’s important to speak up, because abuse, particularly against women, happens all around the country.
Eseta said storytelling was about taking back power from the “people that have treated us like absolute nothing”.