“I would never tell a woman to go out and buy a gun to have in her home for self-defense. It could backfire on her and she might end up in prison. I would tell women to get a few dogs instead.”
Lu – a woman who lived in constant fear of her former husband who threatened to kill her and her daughter on numerous occasions. She has been in prison for over 26-years.
“If you are questioning whether or not certain behavior is abusive, more than likely it is. My advice would be to tell someone, preferably the police. And keep a documented record of the abuse in case you need evidence. Most importantly, separate yourself from the abuser as soon as you can. Move out. Just get away.”
Pamela – Michigan
“I grew up in a happy family. Now I live with my husband of 15 years and we have two children. I have not experienced domestic violence nor do I know anyone else who has. But I do know that in our country it is not customary to talk about this. It is embarrassing and humiliating, so women stay silent. If such a thing happened to me, I would not hesitate to take the children and leave him since force against another person is unacceptable to me.”
Lena – Ukraine
“I started dating my husband when I was 16-years old and in high school. He was four years older than me. I didn’t know he had issues with alcohol at that time. A big red flag I can see now is that he only came around to see me when it was convenient for him. Deep down I knew it and my mother knew it, but she never opened up and talked to me about it. Young girls need their parents to tell them what red flags look like and help steer them in the right direction. I’m in my 70’s today and really want to reach out and tell the young girls what is not acceptable behavior.”
Jude – Michigan
“Looking back I can tell you today that I know from my own experience and from talking to other women that you don’t even know that certain behavior was considered abuse. I think women have been somewhat conditioned to think it’s their fault or they don’t measure up in some way versus automatically knowing that what’s happening to them is considered abuse.”
Kim – Michigan
“When family members tell you it was your fault or you deserve it, then it only makes it worse. And then they tell you to just get over it.”
Wendy – Michigan
“You keep thinking they are going to change and they are not. Don’t make excuses for the bad behavior. Whatever you do, get out of the house!”
Former Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Jack McDonald who presided over the trial of Nancy Seaman – Michigan
“Say your prayers! BELIEVE in miracles! Work diligently on your own behalf! Never give up!”
Patricia Hardy, Former Mayor of Bloomfield Hills and strong advocate for Nancy Seaman to receive clemency from a life sentence. – Michigan
“You always think if that if I do something better then he will change. If I fix a meal better, if I look better, then things will improve. Quite frankly, I think it’s inbred in most women to think that we are the ones who have to change for the abuse to stop. It’s a lie that we believe.”
Connie – Michigan
“I was a battered woman, now I’m a survivor. I know what it feels like to be alone. I know what it feels like to feel as though I could never be free of my abuser.
Seeking help is one of the most courageous things you can do for yourself. Get away from your abuser the first time he hits you, the first time he becomes abusive.
He’s never going to change, it’s only going to get worse.
Do not be sucked into their lies. We all make mistakes, learn from them. Do not beat yourself up. Learn to better yourself, create a fresh start for yourself.
Be a survivor, some do not have that chance.
Don’t be a victim, be a voice!
No matter what walk of life you come from you should be treated with love, respect, admiration. You are beautiful, and unique. You deserve to be loved and cared for.
Love is not pain.
Anyone who treats you less than is not worthy of being in your life. Allow no one to validate who you are. You have a million opportunities in the world, never settle for less.”
Jen – prisoner at Huron Valley in Ypsilanti, Michigan whose boyfriend murdered his parents without her knowledge while she was in the basement changing her clothes from a rain storm. She was young, poor and couldn’t afford an attorney. So, she was given a court-appointed attorney who told her she was going to receive a 26-50 year sentence in a plea deal since she was an “accomplice” to the murder. One clemency petition has already been filed.
“I had to plan my escape. There was no way I could have a civil conversation with him of any kind.
I got a separate bank account and saved money so I could leave. I moved from our house to an apartment. For awhile I was poor and worked two waitress jobs.
But if I hadn’t left, I believe eventually he would have killed me.”
Cynthia – Colorado
“I grew up with a verbally and emotionally abusive father. My father married my sweet and kind mother because she wanted to be loved, plus my dad knew he could control her.
Unfortunately, my mother allowed my father to abuse her – she always thought he would wake up one day and realize what a great lady he married. It never happened and after 61 years of marriage, my father died without a word of regret or apology to my mom.
My sisters and I would beg my mother to leave him, but she never did. My mother had grown up with an abusive father and didn’t have a good example of what a decent marriage should be or could be. It was sad to realize how an abusive partner can damage the self-esteem of their partner and give a poor example of a healthy relationship to their children.
The experience of my parent’s abusive marriage did damage me. I struggle to have a normal relationship with men. I have been divorced several times and think it has to do with growing up with an abusive father. I live my life with one foot out the door – this is not healthy.
Please don’t suffer in silence or think your children aren’t impacted by an abusive relationship. Do something today to get out; it is never too late to make a change. You deserve a peaceful life.”
Debbie – Denver, CO
“You need to leave at the first sign of abuse. The longer you stay in an abusive relationship, the more it becomes your norm. Stop thinking about it as being anything else. It’s so crucial you leave at the first sign of violence because your dysfunction becomes your norm.
Your reasons for staying change from year to year. In the beginning, I was ashamed to admit I made a mistake. Then you stay for children. Then you stay for your family. Then you stay for finances. Ultimately, the abuse becomes a way of life.”
Nancy Seaman – prisoner at Huron Valley Correctional Facility in Ypsilanti, MI who killed her husband in self-defense in 2004.