On May 8, 2007, millions tuned in to see the story of Susan Still, a mother of three whose husband physically and emotionally abused her throughout their 17-year marriage. Domestic abuse affects 1 out every 4 women in America, but one thing made Susan's story stand out from the rest.
One Sunday afternoon in 2003, Ulner Lee Still, Susan's husband, forced their 13-year-old son to videotape him as he berated and beat his wife for 51 minutes. Susan says her oldest son operated the camera, while her 8-year-old son sat in the room, watching the abuse unfold.
During the first 40 minutes of the video, Susan's husband insults her and threatens her with physical violence. Then, the threats take a terrifying turn. Ulner punches, kicks and slaps his wife repeatedly during the final 10 minutes of the video.
After The Oprah Show aired this shocking footage, operators from The National Domestic Abuse Hotline reported that they received three times the amount of calls they normally receive. Thousands of people also logged on to the message boards to express their horror, shock and sympathy.
Some women even spoke out about their own abuse. In one letter, a mother wrote, "I don't know how to leave. I have a 16-month-old daughter, no money, no education. I don't know what to do."
After speaking with Susan's sons, Oprah says women who stay in abusive relationships for the sake of their children are making the worst mistake of their lives—and their children's lives.