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I married a man 25 years ago today. We were both just 21 years old and thought we knew what we were doing. Four years and two babies later, I left with just $14 to my name.

I sometimes wonder what sort of woman I would have become had I stayed with that man. He didn’t want me to go to college because he didn’t want his children raised by strangers in a daycare. He said he married me because he thought that coloured gals knew how to work hard. Was he fixin’ to put me out to farm?

With my second pregnancy I was carrying twins. A push down a flight of stairs meant I only carried one to term. Eight months later and a day after gallbladder surgery I get a visit from a policeman and a social worker. They are investigating a report that the day of my surgery my husband allegedly sexually molested my 2 and a half year old daughter. They wanted to know if I thought he was capable of that kind of behaviour. I collapsed and had to be sedated.

The day after that visit I pulled the drainage tube out of my side (nearly passed out doing so) and checked myself out of the hospital. I took my babies and left town with a couple who were resettling in another city.

I look back at those days and the time I was married and all the things I went through and it seems like it had happened to someone else. I don’t know if I would be that strong today.