“My name is Warner Newman, I’m a musician. I am also a child survivor of domestic abuse, and I’m here to talk about my brand new single, ‘Runaway’.
The title says it all. I grew up in New Zealand, in a violent and abusive household, and my life was a never-ending rollercoaster of emotions. But, I always had music on tap. It was what saved me and made me free. Music was the air that I breathed. Music was, and is, my life.
It’s a subject that a lot of people tend to not want to talk about, like it just doesn’t happen – like it’s a dark shadow that we refuse to bring into the light.
I never understood why it was happening to me. And most of all, why no one could hear me. No matter how loud I screamed, inside and out, I felt like people were deaf to what I was trying to tell them. Being bullied at school is something that seems pretty normal I guess – or it seemed normal to me, because it was how I was being treated at home.
It’s not easy to go to someone and say, ‘Oh yeah, my mum’s boyfriend is throwing me around the house’ – nobody really believed me when I did say that. I got, ‘Oh yeah, I get told off too’. But this was not discipline; this was abuse.
What I have learned is that it is hard to understand domestic abuse, or see how terrible it is, if you cannot take a step back. Many people are never able to make that step. But I did, and then I realised what a bad place I was in.
It caused a division between me and my mother. My mother seemed to accept the abuse. I didn’t realise at the time that she had been through a few abusive relationships and it was normal to her. It definitely wasn’t to me, and I didn’t want this to be my life. The resentment I felt towards her, it closed me down. I grew to dislike her quite badly. I never really understood why she would allow this to happen. And she loved me, definitely, and loves me still. Domestic abuse is such an evil poison; it can really destroy relationships and families in ways you cannot imagine. This is why we must talk about it.
And what I know now is that she wasn’t allowing the abuse to happen. It was his fault for not stopping the abuse.
‘Runaway’ draws on my own experiences of being a child survivor of domestic abuse – the scar that stays with you as you grow up.
I won’t stand for domestic abuse, I won’t accept it. It cannot be hidden away. This is why I respect Women’s Aid. And I hope ‘Runaway’ resonates with people, and helps raise awareness of the darkness of domestic abuse. Let’s get it out in the light, and bring it out of the shadows. I am putting my experience out there to help all survivors, everywhere. I want to help you all into the light. I dedicate this track to every woman and child who suffering from domestic abuse.