What if caged birds don't sing but, instead, they cry? 

The story told in these photographs is the story of the abused, more specifically the story of my mother. The marriage to her high school sweetheart she had thought would be her dream come true but instead it would become her cage of fear. The physical, mental and emotional  abuse tore her down from every angle; convincing her that she could never make it without him. She longed for freedom but could not find the courage to escape for more than two decades. She believed she could change him. She believed him when he would tell her he would never do it again. She believed it could be all she dreamed of ... if she just wouldn't make him upset again.

After twenty-four years she finally filed for divorce but that would not end the abuse. Her abuser then became her stalker. While he would spend his years in and out of prison she lived in constant fear of his next release date. Every protection from abuse order issued was violated sending him back to jail time and time again. There was nothing he wouldn't do to contact her and no matter how many times he'd return to jail he'd just do it again once out. When he was released from his stalking conviction holding him in jail for a much longer period, he became a fugitive within 24 hours of that release. This time stalking my mother's parents and siblings in efforts of finding my mother and sending her into protection until he was found. Having stolen my grandfather's pickup and watching their property from an overlook on the mountain, he continued his harassment of her through her family when he couldn't get to her. 

She passed away of natural causes in 2017 and finally found the freedom (from him) she had been seeking for years. Abuse does not always stop with a prot 

Some statistics:

*  1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced physical abuse from an intimate partner

* 1 in 10 women are raped by an intimate partner 

* 1 in 7 women and 1 in 25 men are stalked by intimate partners to the point of fearing harm

* On any given day, more than 20,000 phone calls are made to domestic violence hotlines nationally

                                                                                                                   (National Coalition Against Domestic Violence)

                                                                                                                    https://www.ncadv.org/statistics

For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at

1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

A very special Thank You to model Helen Rupert for helping me tell this ugly story in such a beautiful way.  

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