Yesterday, I went off on this spiel about how saddened I am to see women's lives ruined by the, so called, "men" they love. I felt compelled after two recent, senseless, murders of young women by, not men, but animals. I got some hopeful comments that let me know my advice was on target. I also got something I didn't expect. A letter from a woman in central Maine corroborating what I was saying. With her permission, I'm posting the letter here. It is my hope that it will help affirm the way these relationships typically play out. Maybe, armed with knowledge from advice and experience, you'll be able to run before it's too late. Maybe this woman's heartfelt letter will help you think more with your brain and less with your heart...

This letter was so well written it could be part of a "how to recognize domestic violence" handbook. But it's not. It's a real story from a woman who lives right here among us...a woman who's strength I admire and who's ability to leave the past where it belongs and move forward is, truly, awe inspiring.

This brings tears to my eyes, Jon (regarding the piece from yesterdays show). You really touched close to my heart today. Domestic violence is absolutely horrible. I was in an abusive relationship about 7-8 years ago. He stalked me, threatened me, harassed me, beat me up. It was the most horrible experience of my life. Up until the day he laid his hands on me I believed he would change. He wasn't abusive when I met him. He was sweet and kind and funny. About six months in it was like a complete stranger took over his body. I just wanted the sweet guy I met back. His step mom said, "The man you met never existed. The man you know know is the man we've always known." But I am one of those people who try to see the good in everyone. Until the day he beat me up. I was never so scared and so angry in all my life. I finally found the courage to press charges. He threatened me if I went to the cops that when he was released, I'd be the first person he came to see. Every time he was released he harassed me. I had to keep a log of every single thing he did and he was finally charged with felony stalking and went to prison for 5 years.

It's not easy to be in a relationship with an abuser. They mess with your mind, diminish your self esteem, make you feel like you're going crazy inside. When people ask why she stayed or how come she didn't fight or say she must have liked it, they just don't know the veiled threats and intimidation that women suffer. It's easy to be on the outside looking in and judge the situation. I say that because I was one of those people...until I found myself in that same situation. I never dreamed I'd be a survivor of domestic violence.

Thank you again for allowing me to share your story.

If you find yourself in a situation that sounds like this one, don't wait until it's too late. Contact the Family Violence Project for advice!

Here's another good resource of Facebook.