If you've ever been screamed at, humiliated, hit—or know someone who has—you're not alone. Every year, 1 out of every 4 women in America is abused by her partner.
When Susan married her longtime boyfriend, Ulner Lee Still, in 1989, she never imagined that she'd be included in that statistic. They dated for years before walking down the aisle, and although she says Ulner was overprotective and controlling at times, she says she believed he was the love of her life.
Once they were married, she says things began to escalate at home. Susan says her husband abused her verbally and psychologically nearly every day of their marriage…even when their three children were present. Often, Susan says Ulner made audio recordings of his tirades so that he could listen to them later.
For years, Susan says Ulner told her that she was stupid, alienated her from her family and accused her of being a bad mother. "There were times when I absolutely thought I was stupid. There were times that he absolutely had convinced me that I was a terrible mother," she says.
Then, after being married for more than 10 years, the emotional abuse took a violent turn. For the last two years of their marriage, Susan says she endured regular beatings at the hands of her husband. She says anything could set him off. "When you're in that life—in that state of mind—it's hard to make a decision over the simplest things," she says. "It's hard for you to walk across the room and make sure you're walking across the room the right way."