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Ceri’s brave stand: I deserve to be loved

The beauty puts abuse behind her

When Ceri McVinnie confided in Jordan Mauger about a past abusive relationship on the very first night they met, some saw her shocking revelation as a case of too much information too soon.

But that’s not how Ceri sees it. When she was younger, the bubbly star of The Bachelor New Zealand – who was eliminated from the show this week – suffered both emotionally and physically at the hands of her boyfriend. She was beaten, spat at and manipulated – and she endured three years of it in silence. The fact Ceri has the strength to talk about it at all is surely something to be celebrated. “I blamed myself for so long for what happened,” the 24-year-old Aucklander tells Woman’s Day in an emotional interview. “It took me a while to accept that it wasn’t my fault.”

The reigning Miss Tourism New Zealand shacked up in a small town away from friends and family to be with her young love. It was idyllic at first, but when the violence began, it left the beauty queen with no-one to turn to. “It started off with emotional abuse,” Ceri alleges.

“He used to tell me I was crazy and fat. He’d say that if I left him, no-one else would want me. He really got into my head. I thought, ‘I’ve got to stay with this guy because no-one else is ever going to love me.’

“Then it progressed to more physical abuse. He started spitting at me and throwing things. Gradually, it got worse, to hitting. On the night we split up, he tried to strangle me. That was the end of it.

“The police got involved and it was over. I’m so grateful for my friends and family who didn’t give me the option to go back to him. Because I would have – he made me believe no-one could ever love me.

“Now I look back and wonder how I ever thought like that because, as clichéd as it sounds, the world is my oyster.” After they split, Ceri pieced her life back together. The blonde bombshell moved home to Auckland and completed a three-week Outward Bound outdoor pursuits course, where she regained the confidence to start competing in beauty pageants.

One bad apple …

With the past firmly behind her, the early-childhood teacher is excited about the prospect of finding love. While she may not have found it with The Bachelor hunk Jordan, Ceri has nothing but kind words for the charismatic film director.

“He’s really thoughtful and true to his word – he seems like a really genuine guy,” says Ceri. “I’ve been quite unlucky in the past. I’m a trusting person and I look for the good in everyone. But I knew that whoever was picked to be the Bachelor would be a pretty stand-up guy.”

While Ceri’s experience with domestic violence was “awful and horrible”, she’s a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason. She says, “It’s made me the person I am today. I know I am stronger for it and if I can help one more woman in my position by sharing my story, then it’s all happened for the greater good. “It was a truly liberating feeling when I understood I wasn’t to blame for his actions. He’s the one who had the issues. He had things he needed to work on and I hope he has.

“I don’t hate him and I do wish him well in the future. I just don’t want him in my life.”

Bubbly Ceri – who was sadly eliminated from The Bachelor NZ this week – gained plenty of fans during her time on the hit TV3 reality show.

The 24-year-old Aucklander, who was sadly eliminated from the show this week, opened up to Jordan early on about a past abusive relationship.

“I blamed myself for so long for what happened,” the blonde beauty tells Woman’s Day in an emotional interview.

“It took me a while to accept that it wasn’t my fault.”

After they split, Ceri pieced her life back together, moving home to Auckland and completing a three-week Outward Bound outdoor pursuits course, where she regained the confidence to start competing in beauty pageants.

“Now I look back and wonder how I ever thought like that because, as clichéd as it sounds, the world is my oyster.”

With the past firmly behind her, the early-childhood teacher is excited about the prospect of finding love.

While she may not have found it with The Bachelor hunk Jordan, Ceri has nothing but kind words for the charismatic film director.

“He’s really thoughtful and true to his word – he seems like a really genuine guy,” says Ceri.

While Ceri’s experience with domestic violence was “awful and horrible”, she’s a firm believer that everything in life happens for a reason

“It’s made me the person I am today. I know I am stronger for it and if I can help one more woman in my position by sharing my story, then it’s all happened for the greater good,” she says.

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Ceri from The Bachelor

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