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. She believed it was her fault.
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 parole date. Every protection from abuse order issued was violated sending him back to prison time and time again. When he was released from his stalking conviction, 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. He would return to prison but not before again sending my mother running for her life in a victim's protection program until they found him.
Until her last breath she lived in fear of him; she had escaped only the physical cage that held her. The mental and emotional abuse continued long after she broke free from that cage.
* 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)
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.