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Sharing Tough Stories

Agriculture.com Staff 07/06/2010 @ 5:18pm

After 23 years of marriage and farm life, Michelle Griffieon found the courage to leave and start a new life.

"We probably shocked 99% of the people in the area when I left, because we were the model farm family," she says. "Beginning six months after we were married, he'd take my head and bang it against the wall. I would say the emotional abuse was worse than the physical abuse. People don't know what's going on behind closed doors."

Thanks to a new book by journalist Katie Thompson, 31 ( My Journey Gathering 31 Stories of Domestic Violence Survivors in the Heartland), Griffieon's story, along with other stories of Iowa women survivors of domestic abuse, will be available in May.

Thompson, who collected the stories over a three-year period, went through counseling to overcome her own abuse. "My goal is to use my voice to help others speak and to help all of our voices be heard," she says. "Silence is one of the worst parts of domestic abuse."

Thompson has traveled Iowa with a display of women's portraits and story excerpts. 31 Quilts and 31 Voices speaker's bureaus have grown out of the project. "The more people are willing to talk, the fewer secrets there will be," she says. To learn more, visit www.31kt.blogspot.com/.

Now Thompson is working on a second book about men who grew up in abusive homes. "At almost every exhibit, I would see at least one man reading the stories and trying not to cry," she says.

How do you know if you're in an abusive relationship? Here are 10 warning signs. Your partner is:

  1. Jealous without any cause.
  2. A control freak.
  3. Cruel and violent.
  4. Physically abusive.
  5. Emotionally abusive.
  6. Verbally abusive.
  7. Demanding perfection from you.
  8. Causing you to live in fear.
  9. Blaming you for everything.
  10. Making you justify his ill-treatment.

After 23 years of marriage and farm life, Michelle Griffieon found the courage to leave and start a new life.

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