My ex-husband had abused me physically and emotionally for years, but I was too afraid to leave. Afraid of what he’d do next, to me and to our son. But then he started threatening me with a gun, and then I was truly terrified. He finally shot me in 1981, and for a few moments, I thought I was dead. All I could think about was who would take care of my son and how would he grow up. I was actually only wounded, but knew that if I called the police, he would take his revenge by shooting me in the back of the head, something he threatened regularly. After another year of terror, of being threatened with shotguns and knives, I finally decided I’d rather be dead than live in that situation, and left with my son and built a new life.
When I think about that night, it’s like watching a movie of someone else. I see the clothes, the room, my ex-husband, even the time of day. But then sometimes I realize the woman is me, and the feeling of terror comes back.