Some of us know all too well the effects an abusive relationship and the impact it has on our friends and family and to simply leave the situation is easier said than done.
This month we gained insight into the charitable organisation ‘I Got Your Backpack’ where founder/mother/entrepreneur Anita Hinton shares her experience in helping others who like herself have fled their homes to escape abuse.
It was at this moment that Anita realised what a small but effective contribution could be and she was the one who was going to provide it…
‘I started IGYBP shortly after I entered the care of a Women’s Refuge myself, it was a really difficult time in my life and I simply didn’t want anyone else feeling the way I did. It was the little things like a toothbrush that I missed the most. It was about having others back in their times of heartache and grief that IGYBP was born.’ Anita’s idea was to provide men, women, and children with packs full of necessities after feeling their homes with next to nothing. Packs are filled with essential items such as shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, tissues and wipes, toothpaste and toothbrushes so in this tough transitional period there is a little less to worry about.
Today, Anita has provided almost 3000 packs nationwide to men, women, and children who have recently fled their homes due to ongoing physical abuse.
The process involves refuge’s placing orders and then bags are distributed to those who are considered the ‘most critical going through safe houses and shelters.’ The system is entirely volunteer-based receiving funding mostly via donations and distribution by those who are willing enough to use their time and resources to deliver the bags. Most people fleeing their homes leave with very minimal, and having these basics can make a comforting contribution.
Anita’s future plans to make IGYBP entirely eco-friendly could become a reality but will require ongoing and consistent support from others.
‘It was my goal to have all of our packs eco-friendly by 2020 but lack of continuous business support means we won’t be able to achieve this within this timeframe.’
However, Anita has made a conscious effort to make small changes including ‘an eco-friendly tote and most recently adding a bamboo toothbrush to the packs which were aided by the help of Nicky ‘Do-Gooder’. Anita isn’t just stopping there either as well as having a job and being a mum herself she has also developed a tool that aids New Zealand children with the effects of trauma with a prototype due for release this year.
The journey for Anita has been filled with many memorable experiences which she contributes to ‘the incredible and selfless team at IGYBP, safe house managers, meeting a single receiver of a pack, the amazing people that donate and help to get these packs out there, the kind words from strangers, and people that go above and beyond to help others, those are always the best moments, it truly shows the best in humanity.’ Anita has provided not only her generous support to others but graciously shown us that in the darkest moments of your life and still come out standing on the other side.
What to do if we know someone who is dealing with abuse…
‘Always be kind, try to reserve judgment towards the person or situation even though it can be hard, you want to say “just leave” but just leaving the situation can be really hard, especially if there are kids involved.
Always know that you can contact organisations like Shine and Women’s Refuge for more advice, they are just as much there for you to give advice/support as they are for your friend/loved one that is going through it.’
And if it’s us…
“As someone who has walked your path, believe me when I say… You don’t deserve what is happening to you, you don’t deserve to feel the way you do, you deserve to be treated with kindness and respect and nothing less. Life is probably getting hard, and I get that, you have every right to feel the way you are feeling. But know this, you are important, the world needs you, so don’t waste another minute drowning in a situation that you don’t belong in.
Say, “I am enough’ then say it a million more times, until you believe it, like really believe it with every ounce of you, because you are enough, just the way you are. And don’t forget to reach out and ask for help, whether it’s from a friend, a trusted family member or an organization.”