I was 18 when I had my daughter. I was 20 when I got married. Over the approximately 20 years that we've been together I have worked 3 short term part time minimum wage jobs outside of the home. For all practical purposes I was in my 30's and had no work experience. I didn't even know how to apply for a job. We were underwater on our mortgage and behind on all our bills. My credit was trashed. The one income we had wasn't enough to keep one household running. Part of it received as spousal support and child support would not have been enough.

When you say to me, "Well I would leave the first time a man hit me," you are criticizing me for not leaving. You are criticizing me for not wanting to be homeless. Domestic violence is the leading cause of homelessness for women. Are you willing to live on the streets with your children and face just as much violence?

There was no one, friend or family that would take in me, my children and my dog. Domestic violence shelters have a time limit. The one I stayed at had a time limit of 30 days. That's 30 days I would have had to figure out how to even apply for a job, find a job, and find housing, arrange child care.

Plus I would have lost at least one of my children. I have no biological ties to her. I was just her legal guardian.

Is he still abusive? No. If he were I would be dead.

To all women: never let yourself be in a position where you are dependent on someone else.

To those women that left the first time he hit you I'm glad you had that option. That you didn't have to choose between possibly losing your life, and losing your child and being homeless.