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THE WOMAN BEHIND THE GRUESOME HEADLINES. IN HER OWN WORDS.

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DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD: THE SIMONNE BUTLER STORY, WITH ANDRA JENKIN

Published by Mary Egan Publishing; RRP: $38.00

“It’s got the sword attack, it’s got the real story on Antoine Dixon, it’s got blood and tears and truth – it’s got everything. This is a powerful book by one of New Zealand’s greatest survivors.” – Steve Braunias, Author, columnist, journalist and editor

Simonne Butler is a survivor. Resilient, gutsy, determined. Her mantra: never give up. And she didn’t. Not even when her life hung in the balance, holding on to her severed hands, after Antoine Dixon’s horrific attack with a samurai sword.

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Simonne grew up in a dysfunctional household with an alcoholic mother. Clever and resourceful, Simonne learned to take care of herself from a young age. Learning to suppress her own needs and put others first, Simonne normalised her experiences of abuse. She became a people pleaser and a rescuer. But she was no push over. Feisty and independent, Simonne resisted Dixon’s ‘romantic’ overtures for months. She knew he was trouble and did everything in her power to avoid him. But his unremitting sweet talk and ‘charm offensive’ eventually broke down Simonne’s resolve, and she began a relationship with Dixon.

What Simonne didn’t know is that Dixon had stalked her from the moment they met and was concealing a freakish dark side. Controlling, manipulative and bullying, Dixon was a career criminal and a sociopath. Damaged goods. Craving love and attention, the broken part in Simonne resonated with the broken part in Dixon and together, they embarked on an irrevocable and tragic journey.

As Dixon morphed into a monster – a serial rapist and perpetrator of extreme physical and verbal violence – Simonne lived in almost constant fear; afraid to stay, but even more afraid to leave, for fear of the dire consequences running away from Dixon would bring and the impact this would have on her loved ones. Feeling helpless, worthless and no match for Dixon’s out of control rage (latterly, fuelled by methamphetamine), Simonne lived like a virtual prisoner, enduring the collateral damage of Dixon’s manic behaviour. Picking up the pieces, carrying on, trying to stay strong.

Double-Edged Sword is a gut-wrenching and visceral account of one of New Zealand’s most horrendous crimes; the culmination of years of rape, domestic violence and torture, the full extent of which has been unknown until now. It is also an extraordinary story of courage and healing. Enduring years of post-traumatic stress, chronic pain, multiple surgeries and rehabilitation, Simonne has recovered and emerged whole, with a new sense of purpose.  Phoenix-like, she has taken back her power and control, and created a life on her terms.

Sharing her story with brutal candour, Simonne hopes to share her message of hope and healing and reach out to every New Zealander who has known suffering, shame, humiliation, violence, hopelessness. She says, “This book is dedicated to you. To you who is still finding your voice. You who had to fight to take your power back. You who was made to feel fear by another. You who feels trapped and too afraid to leave. For you who was shamed, bullied, beaten, raped, humiliated or belittled. You are not alone. You are not forgotten. You are stronger than you think you are. Fight for your right to be you, because you are good enough. Don’t let the actions and words of others ruin your life or your wellbeing. You are worthy of love, respect and happiness.”

Double-Edged Sword is a powerful and compelling read. The book’s Foreword has been written by Louise Nicholas ONZM, National Sexual Violence Survivor Advocate, who says:

“On behalf of all survivors of sexual and domestic violence, thank you, Simonne, for telling your story, thank you for allowing us to walk with you through your journey from victim to survivor to a thriving independent woman whose work helping others is an inspiration.”

SIMONNE BUTLER is a spiritual counsellor and naturopath. In her holistic therapy practice she guides her clients to optimum wellness, personal strength, mental clarity and emotional stability. In 2014 she became a survivor spokesperson for The NZ Women’s Refuge and is an activist, writer and speaker passionate about changing the culture of violence against woman in New Zealand. She holds a Diploma of Naturopathy from Wellpark College of Natural Therapies, has been studying with a master shaman since 2006, and in February 2013 began a formal shamanic apprenticeship at the Medicine Woman Centre for Shamanic and Esoteric Studies. For more: http://www.simonnebutler.co.nz/.

Purchase the book here.

 

Sophia Egan-Reid