Many respondents wove the thread between the environments of abuse they endured and the situation for which they are incarcerated. For many, the link is direct – they were convicted of killing their abuser. One third of cases involved the death of a romantic partner, and in 85% of those cases, the participants had experienced partner abuse.
Other participants described how the act of violence for which they were convicted originated from a lifetime of violence they were subjected to, drawing connections between childhood and partner abuse to drug addiction to prison.
“I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to commit such a heinous act. That day was a very bad outcome of a life and past I was subjected to. I was mentally abused a lot as a child, beat on and brought down by my peers all through school. As I got older the only time I was ever wanted was if it involved sex. I was raped multiple times, fell into addiction and toxic relationships. I started resorting to drugs to self harm and tried to commit suicide multiple times. My victim was my last abusive relationship and all my pain that was bottled up caused me to do something that I regret and mourn deeply. However, this doesn’t make me a bad person. It has taken me years to get society’s voice out of my head that tells me I’m a monster.”Jade Olmstead