Every day in our refuges our staff support women through some of the biggest changes in their lives – rebuilding emotionally, financially and physically after abuse. For international women’s day we share this poem and piece of writing by one of our service users RP* as she reflects on her personal change from abuse to freedom.


Women are like butterflies, if you give them space they can fly and fly high up
and if you cut their wings they become like caterpillars and in the end they develop into a cocoon
which doesn’t have any choice and can’t function on their own.

On the other hand if butterfly have space their wings are vibrant in colour which makes their surrounding
lively and colourful.


I was feeling that I am not perfect; I could not manage myself, my child and my house nicely. If I forgot something, I blame myself for that and could not stop thinking negatively. I was always worried about my mistakes and what others will think about me and how I could make myself more perfect. Always comparing myself to others and think that I am not worthy of anything. I was suffering because I deserve I and could not do anything better. I was so controlled that I had no control over my life, no money and no choices. Sometimes small household tasks seemed like a big mountain of work for me. I have never been appreciated for my work and felt that everything was my fault. I always felt that there is no way to get out of this man-made hell.


I am like a butterfly I can go outside without thinking that no one will blame me for my mistakes, I can wear whatever I want to wear. I can eat what I like to eat. Moreover I think I am a good mother who can make my child happy and give him a better life. Life seems like a long road with ups and down but surrounded by lots of opportunities and hopes. I have a lot of control over my life and I am surrounded by people who support me when I need it. I can now sleep more peacefully.

Written by RP (Resident in one of Hestia’s 32 Domestic Abuse Refuges)