A mother of four sat down with The Kansas City Star on Tuesday to tell her story of nearly two decades of spousal abuse, and why she stayed until she thought the only way out was to take her own life.
“Cutting your wrists is really hard,” she said of her failed suicide attempt. The Star is not naming her to protect her identity.
As she listened to the news about Janay and Ray Rice, the punch and their subsequent marriage, she shook her head. Even though every abusive situation is different, the woman said, “We all have pain. We share pain.”
For her, the Rice story brings back memories. And the woman began to cry.
“I was scared to death of him. I still am,” she said. “He had me completely dependent on him.”
She said her husband isolated her from family and friends. He controlled the money. This college graduate with a well-paying job didn’t even know how much she earned because she never saw her pay stub. “I never had a check book. I never had a credit card,” she said. “... When I needed gas, he put gas in the car. I couldn’t do anything without his approval.”
She said that the first time she tried to leave, he caught her by the hair and beat her to the floor. She lay there unconscious and bleeding for hours. When she woke, “he said, ‘I don’t know what is wrong with you, why you want to leave me.’”
She said she stayed “because I just didn’t have a choice. I was brought up with, what went on behind that closed door stayed behind that closed door.”
And she worried about where she would go. She worried about her children.
“I knew I couldn’t take care of them. I couldn’t afford to take care of myself. You stay and hope things will get better, especially if you have kids.”
It’s been more than five years since a friend helped her plan an escape one night. She’s divorced now and has reconnected with her children. But she never wants to see her ex-husband again.
“He would hurt me no matter what.”
To reach Mará Rose Williams, call 816-234-4419 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.