Battered women share their life experiences...

These women have graciously and bravely shared their stories with us through an abuse awareness web site. As you read, you will undoubtedly find a piece of yourself and your life within each of these abusive relation-ships. And even though their stories are different, the result of the abuse is the same. Abuse destroys the life and spirit of its "victim."

These women, however, are not "victims"... they are survivors.


I met him when I was fourteen and we finally got together ten years later.

He was so refreshingly funny and positive. I loved him, he was my mentor, he was my best friend. When he started telling me what to do and what to think, I didn't see it as a control issue, I just thought it was his way of telling me to take care of myself.

After we were married, our relationship went from "You're amazing Jane," to "You're worthless." In the beginning I just kept trying to make it better. And then towards the end it was like waiting for a pat on the head. He had me reduced to a child. I was so brainwashed.

I think it was the repetitiveness of hearing how stupid and useless I was, that I was never good enough. What I thought didn't matter, what I wanted wasn't important, I was never right, I was always wrong.

Over trivial things, a misplaced milk cap, canned gravy, the night-light. He kept saying this to me over and over and over.To the point where, towards the end, I really believed there was something wrong with me, that he must be right, I couldn't function in the outside world without him.

I just stayed at home, my whole life revolved around him walking through the front door. It was as though I had lost my personhood.


It's not just some stranger walking up to you on the street and popping you on the head.

When it's somebody you make love to every night, who's treated you like a queen, who loves you to death, and you share every part of your being with him, and that person turns around and hits you, it's the most shocking thing.

And you know you have to go, logically, but you know that when it's good he makes you feel beautiful, and you love him. So you stay, you just want things to be normal. And then he hurts you again, and it starts tearing you apart bit by bit by bit.

He tells you how stupid you are and then when you confide in a friend they tell you how stupid you are for staying, and every time you go back to him you hate yourself a little more. I was young, I was nineteen when it started, the crazy jealousy. Every time I went somewhere to get away, he'd find me. Then he'd fall apart, full of apologies. And I'd go back, I missed him, I missed that obsessive love.

I'm twenty-seven now and I'm just beginning to realize that my whole adult life has been a chain reaction to that relationship, that fear. It takes away your ability to trust, it takes away your innocence.


It's not right that I took a life and I'm very sorry for that and wish I could take it back. But it happened because I feared for my life and I believed had no other choice.

That's 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 didn't 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, "It's just the stress of the wedding." I was a pregnant seventeen-year-old girl, starry-eyed with love and hope for the future.

He said he'd never hurt me again and we'd 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 he'd 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 didn't know how to help for myself.

It's difficult for someone on the outside to understand the isolation and hopelessness a battered woman feels. Sometimes looking back, it's difficult for me to understand it myself, because I'm in such a different state of mind today. Even when I went to trial, I didn't know I was a battered woman.

I didn't realize it until I joined a support group in prison, where I heard other women talk about going through the same experiences. The most important thing a woman living in an abusive relationship needs to know is, she needs to tell someone what's going on, there is help, she's not alone.

After serving 10 years for killing her husband, Brenda was released from prison in March 1997, becoming the first woman in California, U.S.A. to be granted clemency based on battered woman's syndrome. She is now building a new life with her children and continues to be an outspoken advocate on behalf of other abused women.