Growing up an only child, Carolyn and her mother were inseparable. Throughout high school, Carolyn was a star athlete in basketball and track. In college, Carolyn studied to become a drug and alcohol counselor. There she dreamed of getting married and starting a family of her own.
When Carolyn met Terrence Kelly, she thought she found the man of her dreams. Soon they moved in together. "In the beginning," Carolyn says, "the relationship was like any relationship. We got along real good."
But after just a few months, Terrence began to show a much darker side. "He got very jealous," Carolyn says. "I wasn't allowed to wear things that showed off my figure. I was only able to associate with my immediate family. I wasn't allowed to talk to my male cousins because he didn't believe they were my cousins. He was verbally abusive."
Then the emotional abuse turned violent. "I remember getting beat up for dyeing my hair," Carolyn says. "He didn't think that that was ladylike." Despite constant abuse, Carolyn stayed in the relationship for eight years. "I was in love," she says, "and I thought that he was going to change...and that I could change him."