A 43-year-old father, Levi Tamapua, swears that he is a changed man.
Levi is among more than seventy men who have completed a rehabilitation programme with the Samoa Victims Support Group as part of his sentence from the Family Court.
His involvement in the Men’s Advocacy Graduation follows problems home where he assaulted his partner. Tamapua was then ordered to attend the 8-week programme.
Yesterday, Tamapua said when he was first referred by Judge Tafaoimalo Leilani Tuala-Warren, he was not happy.
“I didn’t like the programme at first, I was wondering why I am being referred to this organization, what are they going to do with my life?” said Tamapua. “On my first week, I tried to adjust myself with others in the program, my first day meant nothing. I went home, I didn’t know what I had learnt, I asked myself what’s the use?”
But on the second week, Tamapua said one of the facilitators, Rev Tenari, said something he would never forget.
“You are a hero if you manage to control your anger,” he recalled what the Reverend said. From there, he started to enjoy and take on the lessons from the programme.
“I am a person who has a quick temper and I reached the line where I can’t control it anymore,” he said. “I end up laying a hand on my partner because of that temper. I regret that now.”
Tamapua said he didn’t appear before a Judge and he has vowed that it would be his first and last. Tamapua said the programme has given him a new start.
“The program enables me to share my problems to others, especially when going through counseling. It was hard but I became used to it.”
“But being under the program for 8 weeks, I was able to just let out the burden.”
Tamapua thanked Judge Tafaoimalo for the chance she gave him.
“I treasured the chance I was given because if it wasn’t for that chance I would be up at Tafaigata,” he added. Tamapua said Judge Tafaoimalo saw potential in him to improve.
“I also thank the Samoa Victim for the programme; it’s a programme that has helped many people and now me. I can honestly say that it saved my life.” Tamapua is from the village of Vaimoso and Moata’a. He was raised by his mother when his father passed away at a young age.
Tamapua is a father of 4 children; his wife had passed away early last year.
And he is in a de-facto relationship. He will be graduating from Men’s Advocacy Programme tonight.