It’s Never Too Late to Make ChangesKia Ora my name is Patumoana Jeremy Eparaima known to some as Patu and some as Jeremy so I answer to both. I have been involved with the It's not OK Campaign now for about a year and have just joined the team as a champion, helping to spread the awareness in New Zealand that domestic violence is not OK.
I was born and bred in the Horowhenua region some 46 years ago and for about 40 of those years had an anger management problem and was a perpetrator of domestic violence. To everybody else I was a popular, funny, happy guy who had it all together, but behind closed doors I was an aggressive, abusive father, partner and husband.
My anger started at an early age due to an abusive home life and a step father who did not treat myself and my two sisters very well. As a teenager I was given the opportunity to go to boarding to school to escape my family life, unfortunately this wasn't what I had hoped for and school became the lesser of two evils for me. I was physically and emotionally bullied from the day I arrived which then progressed to being sexually assaulted by an older boy.
I finally got enough courage to tell what was happening to me and the principal and my parents both told me it would be ok now, the principal gave me and my parents an assurance that the boy would not return to school after the mid year break. About two weeks into that term he was back and back doing to me what he had done before. I have only just recently worked out that's when I gave up asking adults for help because they failed me.
The upshot of it was that over the next four years I learnt that I could look after myself with my mouth and fists, so I left that place an angry resentful young man who then took the skills I had acquired with me into adulthood and my relationships. Over the next 20 odd years I used these skills to perfection in hurting the ones I supposedly loved the most - my children and partners. Three relationships ended because of my violence and abuse.
Lucky for me, thanks to a friend of mine, I met this amazing lady named Ngaire who facilitates an anger management course in Levin. She, after some great care and hard work, was able to show me the errors of my ways and gave me some new skills that started to change my life and the lives of those around me and sent me on the journey I am currently on which is going to different places and sharing my story to help others not to make the same mistakes I made.
My message is simple - it is ok to ask for help when you need it and do it while you are young or before you have done too much damage. If you are older it's never too late to make positive changes in your life, to be a good role model and provide a safer environment and future for your children and grandchildren.
Kia Ora Koutou.