Anna and Charlie were married for five years and have two beautiful children together. From the outside looking in, you might have thought all was fine in their relationship, but something was terribly wrong.
"He hit me -- a lot. I have always thought of myself as a strong woman. I would never imagine that I'd let a man control me and abuse me like he did," explains Anna.
"For the first three years of our marriage, things were good. We would argue here and there, but nothing major. Around the time that I had our second daughter, everything changed. Charlie became short-tempered and abusive. He would fly off the handle at every little thing. My whole goal was to stop him from ever hitting our girls, and he knew that. So he would hit me and threaten that, if I ever told anyone, he'd take the girls away and I'd never find them. Sometimes, Charlie would even say that he'd kill them.
"Every day was nightmare in our house for almost two whole years. I was a stay-at-home mom, and soon I rarely left the house because of the abuse. I was so ashamed and scared that someone would find out."
"Last fall, something happened, and I snapped. It wasn't pretty, and I'm not proud of it, but I struck back. After a night of drinking, Charlie came home, and the abuse began again. He had me by the hair in the kitchen and was throwing me up against the refrigerator. When he let go for a split second, I picked up the nearest thing (a half-empty beer bottle) and smashed it over his head.
"Charlie fell unconscious to the floor, and honestly, I didn't care if he was dead or alive. I ran upstairs, grabbed my girls out of bed, and put them in the car. I drove more than 100 miles to my mother's house before I stopped.
"For the next five hours, I poured my heart out to my mom and dad. They were devastated that I had never come to them before. The next morning, my dad took me to the police station to file charges, and then to an attorney to file for divorce."
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