BRUSHED aside by her mother at a young age and being one of the youngest to experience discomfort in four Japanese concentration camps during WWII are memories Bambi Nacy Shen vividly recalls.
Mrs Shen said growing up as a child was not ordinary and normal because she had to suffer for four years during a cruel war.
She describes to women at the National Women's Expo in Suva the fear that was engraved in her life.
"Seeing my father who was a diplomat at that time coming back one day to our room bloody and looking awful after having been beaten during a Japanese soldier interrogation has encouraged me to make a resolve that I would never allow anyone to strike me," Mrs Shen said.
"That gave me the determination to avert domestic violence and I never allowed my first husband to hit me as it would risk my safety, as well as the safety of my children. From my experience, I learned to live in gratitude for my life."
She said one of her strong pillars was having the ability to forgive, especially her relationship with her mother which had impacted her life when growing up.
"Growing up in a concentration camp was far easier than breaking free from my mother's constant criticism, put downs and negative prophesies that I would not amount to anything worthwhile.
"We women are here together to empower each other. We need to support and challenge each other, raise our sights and expand our horizons," she said.