Its not right that I took a life and Im very sorry for that and I
wish I could take it back. But it happened because I feared for my life and I believed I
had no other choice. Thats the state of mind I was in at that time after so being so
physically and mentally abused by this man. And now the death of my husband is one more
horror I have to live with the rest of my life.
I met Rick when I was 16 years old. He was good-looking and charming, and he
showered me with attention, making me feel beautiful for the first time in my life. I
didnt see the warning signs in his possessive behavior; I thought it was cute, I
thought it meant he loved me. When he hit me on our wedding day, he cradled me in his arms
and begged my forgiveness. His mother said, "Its just the stress of the
wedding." And I was a pregnant seventeen-year-old girl, starry-eyed with love and
hope for the future. Hed never hurt me again and wed live happily ever after.
And so began a ten-year litany of abuse and pain that was punctuated by the pounding of
his fists on my face, my body, my soul. I left with my three daughters several times, but
hed always track us down. By the final year of our marriage, my life had
deteriorated into a nightmare of fear, pain and despair, and I didnt know how to
help for myself.
Its difficult for someone on the outside to understand the isolation and
hopelessness a battered woman feels. Sometimes looking back, its difficult for me to
understand it myself, because Im in such a different state of mind today. Even when
I went to trial, I didnt know I was a battered woman. I didnt realize it until
I joined a support group in prison, where I heard other women talk about going through the
The most important thing a woman living in an abusive
relationship needs to know is, she needs to tell someone whats going on, there is
help, shes not alone.