Navigation for Breaking Silence

> Series Classification: PG (Parental Guidance Recommended for Younger Viewers) | Produced by Magnetic Pictures

For Simonne Butler, a violent attack by the man she lived with left her in hospital critically injured.  Her journey to recovery is ongoing, as is her commitment to stop domestic abuse in Aotearoa.  

Breaking Silence is a video series that shares Simonne’s story and follows her as she meets people around the country who are working with determination to raise awareness about the abuse cycle and how it can be changed.

She discovers a range of responses from those making a difference: from practical support in setting up a new household to working with men on how to be emotionally open.  We hear the personal stories from fathers and husbands who once thought their lives were untouched by domestic violence, who now actively campaign to spread knowledge about how family harm is often hidden from plain sight.

Breaking Silence captures many voices speaking a single truth - abuse thrives in secrecy, ending abusive behaviour requires self-knowledge and the courage to speak out.

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“If someone has said they are going to kill you, believe them, they will.  It might not happen today, it might not even be this year … but it’s on its way.”

These are the powerful words of Simonne Butler, host of the series on domestic abuse in New Zealand, Breaking Silence.

Simonne was herself the survivor of a vicious and deadly attack by a former partner.  The injuries inflicted left Simonne with years of painful reconstructive surgeries and emotional recovery.  Simonne shares her story and insights on how to survive, what she has learnt and in this series, meets other people breaking the silence on domestic abuse.

New Zealand has the highest rate of domestic abuse per capita in the world.  Every hour New Zealand police attend 12 domestic violence incidents and almost 60,000 women and children are referred to refuges each year.

What’s also shocking is that 80% of domestic abuse incidents are not reported.

In this compelling new eight part series we open wide the issue of domestic abuse in New Zealand, and it will change the way you think about violence against women.

Domestic abuse extends beyond social, financial, education and ethnical bounds.  It is all our problem and nobody escapes.

In David White’s episode, his son in law Greg Meads was a multimillionaire horse breeder and he still shot and killed his wife Helen, David’s daughter.

In the Financial Abuse episode Sarah was a highly paid legal professional, she thought because she was never actually hit she wasn’t in an abusive relationship yet the controlling abuse of her partner rendered her and her children penniless and homeless.  Breaking Silence defines what abuse is and reveals its many forms.

In the episode Say Something, the abusive relationship between Samoan father Ace and his family led his oldest son to attempt suicide.  The entire family were committed to sharing their story in the hope it would help others who may relate and benefit from their experience.

Over this first series we begin to investigate what New Zealanders need to know if we are to curb our shocking domestic abuse statistics.

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Made with the support of NZ On Air

Made with the support of NZ On Air Photo: NZ On Air