A Mother’s Nightmare Captured On Tape Part 2 | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network


OPRAH WINFREY (HOST): Today, We witnessed this mother’s abuse captured on tape, but what happens to the children forced to watch it firsthand? You were behind the camera of the video that we’ve been seeing. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Correct. WINFREY: If you’re staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of your children, you must watch this show. SUSAN’S SON TWO: I really don’t think that the first eight years of my childhood happened. WINFREY: Today is the day to make your escape plan. We’ll tell you how. What would you like to say to a woman who is watching this right now? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Do not stay. WINFREY: Next. I’m sure many of you have never witnessed what goes on in the home of an abused woman until our show with Susan Still. Susan, a mother of three, endured years of physical and emotional abuse throughout her 14-year marriage. Fifty-one minutes of that abuse was captured on tape. The cameraman was Susan’s 13-year-old son. ULNER: What I’ve been telling you do? Follow the rules on the house. And you’re gonna sit up there and tell me you don’t know what to do. Now, wait a minute, you’re gonna tell me you don’t know what to do. SUSAN: I don’t know if I should talk to you or not talk to you. I… ULNER: No, no. Even talking to me, you know what to say to me. You’ve been taught what to say to me. Heifer you’re gonna sit down there and lie and say you don’t know what to do? You follow me to the tee. You follow what I say to the tee. WINFREY: Seeing this very disturbing video sparked an immediate reaction. Operators from the National Domestic Violence hotline say that they received three times the amount of calls they normally receive. And thousands of you responded on our message boards. You were horrified. You were stunned. Shaken. KAY: I’ve only been watching this show for 15 minutes and I am so sick. It is so unbelievable to see someone treated that way. LAURA: My name is Laura. I was in the same situation as Susan, the abused wife, for 20 years. Watching the video, literally, made me physically sick. ANN: Seeing your show today made me see exactly what my daughter has gone through. She recently left after being beaten and verbally abused for over seven years. RACHEL: Today’s show affected me deeply. As I watched how Susan Still’s husband viciously assaulted her, I felt a cold pit in my stomach as I realized these horrors go on every day behind closed doors. CHRISTIE: My name is Christie. I’m still shaking after watching today’s show with Susan and her abused video and story. I am adult who watched my mother being abused by my father. I feel Susan’s terror and know how her children must now live their lives. WINFREY: So I know that so many more of you did not respond because you were too afraid, or you think your abuser may catch you on the computer looking for help. But some did get their letters to me. One viewer wrote, I’m so embarrassed sitting here with two black eyes. And another writes, I don’t know how to leave. I have a 16-month-old daughter, no money, no education, I don’t know what to do. So later in this show, we’re gonna tell you how to make a plan because, remember, throughout that last show, I just kept saying today is your day to make a plan? WINFREY: Well, today, we tell you what the plan is to get out. For those of you who are staying for the sake of your children and so many women have said this, I want you to know, Susan Still wants you to know, that you’re making the worst mistake of their lives. Not just yours. You’re gonna hear from Susan’s sons. After the show that aired two weeks ago, we kept our cameras rolling and I showed Susan my interview with her youngest son who was 8 years old when that videotape was made. She asked that we not show his face. But even in shadow, you can hear his now 12-year-old truth. WINFREY: Tell me how old were you when you first noticed your mother was being treated badly by your father? How old were you? SUSAN’S SON TWO: I really can’t say that I actually noticed it. I mean, this was like a daily thing that happened in the house. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON TWO: It was just part of my life. WINFREY: What was part of your life? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Like, mom actually being abused. I never actually recognized it. WINFREY: You didn’t recognize it. SUSAN’S SON TWO: As that. WINFREY: So you didn’t even think it was abuse? SUSAN’S SON TWO: No, I just thought this was regular life. This is how it is. WINFREY: So can you tell me what are some of your strongest memories of your mother being abused? SUSAN’S SON TWO: She didn’t used to get beaten all the time when we like, ’til I was like six or five. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON TWO: That started probably six. All of us would have to be called either the dining room or their bedroom. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON TWO: And then each discussion was like two hours at the regular average. WINFREY: I heard that these were called family meetings. Is this what you’re talking about? Family meetings? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Yes. Yes. WINFREY: And what would happen in the family meetings? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Basically my dad would talk about how bad of a mother she was. On one occasion, and before we went to school, we had to call her like slut, ho. WINFREY: I heard that you had to call her white ho slut. Is that true? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Yes. That, I think, that’s what it was. WINFREY: White ho slut. And how does that happen? SUSAN’S SON TWO: We just listen to him. It’s like we were brainwashed into thinking that this was what, was supposed to happen. And this is like, we’d followed his orders. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON TWO: But I always loved her. WINFREY: You always loved your mother. SUSAN’S SON TWO: Yeah. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. Did you ever think about how she was feeling? SUSAN’S SON TWO: No. WINFREY: Never thought. SUSAN’S SON TWO: No, I didn’t. WINFREY: Did you ever think that this might hurt her or embarrass her or humiliate her? SUSAN’S SON TWO: No, because I remember that when she used to talk to–to him on the phone and when she’s at the grocery store or something… WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON TWO: …she used to have to say master, yes, master, do you want this, master? And I thought that was fine. That was okay. It’s just another thing that goes on. And it was regular. And I remember one day that it makes me sad because… WINFREY: Take your time. Take your time. SUSAN’S SON TWO: So my mom hadn’t gotten home from work yet. And it was just me and my brother and my sister and my dad. Then we were having such a great time, like, I don’t know why I would think that it was great without her but I did at the time. And then when she came home everybody just left from the table and gave her a dark look and even–I even didn’t want her to come home. It was like this with the perfect time and I feel really guilty about that. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. What do you think, watching that, being a part of that your whole life, your entire life, what you think that has done to you? SUSAN’S SON TWO: I think, I think that was just another life. That was a different life. I really don’t think that the first eight years of my childhood happened. And I started my life in a new place. WINFREY: Do you think that you could ever grow up and become a batterer, the kind of man who humiliates and abuses women? SUSAN’S SON TWO: The only way that I could be that, and I will say it’s a possibility but that would be if I was literally mentally insane, if I was mentally insane. It’s a very good possibility. WINFREY: What would you like to say to a woman who’s watching this right now who has a son who is 8 years old? SUSAN’S SON TWO: Do not stay because I know that they think that they want them to grow up in a healthy home with their–with both of their parents. It’s not a good idea because what is happening is not healthy. It would be a horrible idea to stay in an abused home. WINFREY: That’s what you’re now 12-year-old son says. SUSAN STILL: Yeah. He’s my sweetie, yeah. WINFREY: He’s your sweetie, yeah. And so what do you think when you hear that? SUSAN STILL: I feel so hurt for what they had to see and go through an experience but through it and experience for years. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: For years. And I’m so proud that, that he’s able to voice it and, and that he understands because, you know, I feared that my children would always hate me, you know? I, I didn’t know which way they were gonna go. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: It–I wish, I wish I would have known this when I was living it. I wish I would have known. WINFREY: Coming up, what Susan’s oldest son has to say. The one who actually shot the disturbing home video speaks. That’s next. ULNER LEE STILL: You know you would’ve left if you can. Ask me that again. You wouldn’t come up here messing with me. You thinking about liking your children? SUSAN STILL: I love my children. ULNER LEE STILL: No. No, no, no. Why didn’t you say that the first time? Now you–you love your children. SUSAN STILL: Of course I do. ULNER LEE STILL: No, no, well, you had the right to answer that. I gave you the chance to answer it directly. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Yep. ULNER LEE STILL: But you wanted to get your (CENSORED) whooped. WINFREY: Like me, I know millions of you who saw that video on our show were shaken to the core really. Susan Still, a mother of three, was brutally beaten by her husband and her 13-year-old son was forced to videotaped it on this particular occasion. But she was beaten often, verbally abused almost every day. And after the show, we kept the cameras rolling and I showed Susan the private conversation that I had with her older son. He’s now 17 and has rarely talked about the abuse that he witnessed. And on this particular day when he was 13 filmed his father beating his mother. WINFREY: Explain to us what happened the day that you ended up videotaping your father abusing verbally and then physically your mother. SUSAN’S SON ONE: What I remember was it was, it was like a for audio recording. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON ONE: And in order to keep myself out of trouble, I said, let’s get the video camera to keep myself out of trouble. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON ONE: And that’s when he got the camera. WINFREY: And so you were behind the camera of the video that we’ve been seeing. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Correct. WINFREY: Yes. And so as you are filming your father humiliating your mother, for you, this meant what? ‘Cause you’ve seen it many times. SUSAN’S SON ONE: I knew it was hard every time. It was upsetting but… WINFREY: Did you kind of get used to it after a while? SUSAN’S SON ONE: Yes, it’s like waking up and brushing your teeth in the morning. WINFREY: Hmm. So this particular day, you grabbed the video camera in order to be on his good side. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Right. WINFREY: Yeah. And as you were filming her through the lens, from time to time, you would comment. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Right. WINFREY: Why? SUSAN’S SON ONE: Well, being in that home, it’s like, it felt like everything was reduced down to just basic survival like animals would do. You do what you got to do to survive. Survival of the fittest. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON ONE: I mean, I love my mom. I wish I could have done something to help. But I knew that she wanted me to keep myself safe, too. WINFREY: Now, when you look back on this time as you’re 17-year-old self, what do you think of all that? SUSAN’S SON ONE: That it was just, it was wrong. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Bottom-line, it should have never happened. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. Have you ever gotten angry with your father about it? SUSAN’S SON ONE: Oh, yeah. WINFREY: How do you feel about your father today? SUSAN’S SON ONE: He deserves what he got. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. Are you in communication with him? SUSAN’S SON ONE: No. WINFREY: Would you ever be in communication with him, do you think? SUSAN’S SON ONE: Oh, yeah. I will. I’ll be paying him a visit. WINFREY: You will? SUSAN’S SON ONE: I will. WINFREY: And what do you want to say to him? SUSAN’S SON ONE: I wanna say a lot of things that I’d rather not say in front of you. WINFREY: Okay. What do you think it did to you to see your father behave that way on a regular basis? What do you think? SUSAN’S SON ONE: I think it made me angry and quick to fight. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Like, not hit girls, but quick to fight like guys on the street or something like that. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. Have you been able to deal with that or talk about that to someone? SUSAN’S SON ONE: Oh, yes. It’s a lot better now. I know how to control them more. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. But it filled you with rage. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Yeah. WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. Because you were not able to act when you were 13, you couldn’t do anything about it so you just really took it all in, pushed it down. SUSAN’S SON ONE: It definitely did. SUSAN’S SON ONE: Right. WINFREY: And how do you feel about where he is today? SUSAN STILL: I’m very thankful for where he is today. I know that he has made a conscious effort to be where he is today. I was very, very concerned about him. I still remained concerned about my children. But he was in a place where people told me he wasn’t gonna be okay. And now, today, I know… WINFREY: What did they tell you? SUSAN STILL: They told me that he was brainwashed, similar to the brain washing of a POW. That it was going to take years and years and years of intense therapy in order to bring him out of it, that there was that, you know, there was the cycle of abuse, and he really, really was going to need some help in regards to that. WINFREY: As a prosecutor here, Lisa, you were saying how many children are in this similar situation? LISA: The Department of Justice estimates 10 million children in our country every single year see their mom get abused, physically abused. WINFREY: And how do these statistics relate to juvenile delinquency or juveniles who… MS. RODWIN: Well, actually, studies have shown that almost 70% of the children under 16 who are arrested for a crime either were abused themselves or witnessed abuse. So you’re actually hurting your children more than helping them by staying in that situation. Children are hurt even if they’re not hit. WINFREY: And so what do you wanna say to women who see themselves in you? SUSAN STILL: I want to tell them that staying for the sake of your children is absolutely not the thing to do, that what ultimately is going to happen is that your child is gonna grow up and tell you they wish you would have left. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: That’s what they’re going to say. My children have been so hurt by this. And I have so much guilt about that. I have so much guilt. And the best thing that I could do for them was to live well now… WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: …and show them the healthy way, the healthy way to live. WINFREY: Mm. SUSAN STILL: And in time, they see that. They see the person you become. WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: They see you as an individual. And things change. WINFREY: Yeah. And I can’t say it enough, because that is what all the experts say. Your children model your behavior. What you say does not have as much value as what you do and what they see. They model your behavior. That’s why parents are the number one role models for their children. And so, when you know better, you do better. And for everybody who has seen this today, you can’t now say you don’t know better. SUSAN STILL: Right. WINFREY: Thank you to Susan’s sons who agreed to talk with me. Coming up, the co-worker who helped save Susan’s life. And later, hear what Susan’s ex-husband had to say from prison. WINFREY: Later in the show, we’re gonna give you a step-by-step plan on how you can escape the abuse. And it’s true, you really do need a plan. When Susan was here, we talked to her boss, Lynn, who, for months, had secretly been trying to help her because she knew something was wrong. FEMALE ( AUDIENCE MEMBER): Prior to your escape, did you ever call the police? SUSAN STILL: No. Never once. FEMALE ( AUDIENCE MEMBER): Never? Did you ever think about calling the police? SUSAN STILL: I knew that if I called the police and they came to the house, I would get it worse after they left. I knew it. That wasn’t even a choice. LYNNE: She begged me not to actually. Begged me not to. WINFREY: She begged you not to call the police? MS. JASPER: Absolutely. WINFREY: Yeah. Mm-hmm. MS. JASPER: Only if I heard the magic word. WINFREY: Which was? MS. JASPER: If she, if I was on the phone with her and she said to me, I wanted to speak with you personally, that was our code. That was my trigger to call. That alone WINFREY: I want to speak to you personally? MS. JASPER: Mm-hmm. WINFREY: Yeah. And for everybody, your code can be… SUSAN STILL: It can be anything. WINFREY: Yes. SUSAN STILL: It has to be something casual enough where he wouldn’t be alerted to it. MS. JASPER: Yeah. He recorded every conversation. He was always listening in. So it had to be something that was just only I would understand. WINFREY: So you would call and say, how are you doing? MS. JASPER: No. I make–you couldn’t call and say, how are you doing? There was no, we weren’t allowed to cross the professional to personal lines. We weren’t allowed to be friends. Susan will never say it, but two of the instances where she was beaten were because I let the cat out of the bag that we were friends. I had interviewed her daughter at one point for a position, and, of course, I loved Susan. She’s a model employee, she was a wonderful person. We both had kids. I loved her genuinely. So I said that. That’s what you say when you meet somebody’s family. I said, oh, I just love your mother so much, and she loves you, kids, so much. What a beautiful family you have. MS. JASPER: She went home and told dad. Dad found out that Susan brought personal pictures to work. And that’s one of the beatings that he’s in prison for. Because I let that slip. And you just, we had to be sneaky. I hate to say it, but we had to be very cryptic because you never knew when he was listening. I needed to call and say, I think the one time that I really was frantic, I’d drive by on my lunch hour just to see what I could see… WINFREY: Mm-hmm. MS. JASPER: …To make sure she was okay is she didn’t show up. And I think I made an excuse about your timesheet… SUSAN STILL: Mm-hmm. MS. JASPER: …that I needed to know your hours so I could turn in your timesheet so that… SUSAN STILL: Yes. Because he’s, at first, he said no, I wasn’t there. MS. JASPER: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: And as soon as you said something about money… MS. JASPER: As soon as I said something about money. SUSAN STILL: …immediately he allowed me to talk to her. MS. JASPER: She was allowed to speak to me. And I just wait. And I knew if she said, hi. It’s me. I wanted to talk to you personally, that that was my trigger to send the police. WINFREY: Well, Susan wrote a chilling letter to her children and left it in Lynne’s drawer at work a month before the final beating. Here is a portion of what she wrote. Do you wanna read it? MS. JASPER: I apologize because this is what always gets me. I’ve been so good today. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. So you come to work, and this is in your drawer. MS. JASPER: It’s in the drawer, but it’s bundled with a package of papers, a few checks, a little bit of money, some utility bills. And it’s in a white envelope. And it said, if anything should happen to me, or if I should turn up missing, it is possible my husband was involved in some way. I’ve been kicked, punched, and slapped. I just want my children to know that I stayed because I love them. Please forgive me for the things you have seen in your young life. Know that I would not leave you and live a life without you. Mommy. WINFREY: So when you wrote that letter, what was happening? SUSAN STILL: He had alienated me from them so much. I mean, I wasn’t even allowed to hug them and kiss them. And I just felt that my children believed that I didn’t love them anymore because he had just drilled it into them so much. And I knew that if he killed me that he would probably bury me in the backyard and tell people I ran off with some man… WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: …and my children would follow the story. I just knew it. And I didn’t want him to get away with it. I wanted people to know what happened. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: And so I felt that I needed to leave that information somewhere where somebody would find it, and I wanted my children to know how much I love them. WINFREY: Now, it’s so–obviously, we’re all moved by that letter, but I’m thinking, okay. You write the letter, and this was a month before you actually left? SUSAN STILL: Probably. WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: Yeah. WINFREY: And so, you write the letter, if anything happens to me, but you’re still not thinking, I’m gonna leave. Because did you not think that you could and not be killed or not hurt your children. Did you not think that you physically could? SUSAN STILL: Could leave and… WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: No. At that time, I didn’t, I didn’t wanna leave because of the kids. But my fear, because he was so big, and I really felt that he may kill me even accidentally, you know what I mean? Not meaning to actually kill me but that it could happen. And I knew he would cover it up. I knew he would cover it up. And so, I just wanted to make sure in case that happened, that somebody would know, you know, that somebody would know that he did it. WINFREY: What made you finally tell your boss? Because she’d asked you twice and you lied both times. SUSAN STILL: She asked me and asked me, and I had had a morning, that morning where he had, he had beaten me up in the morning. And I came to work, and I was just on the verge of tears as I walked in the door. And I was trying to suck it up. And Lynne took me in the room, and she didn’t approach me as, I know something is going on. I want you to tell me now. She started out by doing the family thing. She had a family. I had a family. It was one of the things that bonded us. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: And she figured that I had had an argument with him. And so she proceeded to tell me, you know, when Billy and I argue, you know, this or this or this–making it an even. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. So okay, I got it. She came to you with no judgment. SUSAN STILL: Right. WINFREY: She came to you with no judgment. And you felt her compassion. SUSAN STILL: I did. I did. WINFREY: Oh, I want to cry about that. [LAUGHTER] WINFREY: I think that’s so big because the reason why so many women, you know, pull back, is because they feel they’re going to be judged. SUSAN STILL: Oh, and I absolutely did. WINFREY: They feel that you’re gonna say, what is wrong with you, you, stupid fool? Why did you stay? Why did you stay? WINFREY: It’s really very powerful, that when you approached her with compassion and put yourself in it that that was the thing that allowed her to feel comfortable enough to share what was going on. Don’t you all think that’s pretty powerful? [APPLAUSE] WINFREY: And so the first part of a plan if you wanna help somebody is to approach them with compassion and without judgment. And if you’re wondering how you could ever help someone in Susan’s situation, listen to this, Lyn, her boss, was secretly keeping track of Susan’s bruises and beatings in a daily calendar. And in the end, it wasn’t the, it wasn’t the horrific videotape, as you would– might imagine, that put Susan’s ex-husband behind bars for 36 years. It was Lyn’s detailed notes. Coming up, Susan Still is back and we will find out what happened after we aired that show. And why this woman says that Susan’s story may have saved her life. Next. WINFREY: Susan Still is back with us today. What’s been the reaction? SUSAN STILL: I’ve had a lot of positive reaction from people. When I left here, I was standing outside the door and a cab driver went by, and he blew the horn, and he waved and said, hey, you’re my hero. Congratulations. WINFREY: Wow. SUSAN STILL: It was good to see. It was… WINFREY: And then I–some of the cast from The Color Purple is here. I sent you to see The Color Purple. SUSAN STILL: Yes, you did. WINFREY: And I said that is a play you need to see. SUSAN STILL: Oh, yes. [LAUGHTER] WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: Uh-huh. WINFREY: And what did you think? SUSAN STILL: It was wonderful. It was wonderful. WINFREY: Yeah. Isn’t it life affirming? SUSAN STILL: Absolutely. WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: So we also asked the Lisa Rodwin, the prosecutor who put Susan’s ex- husband behind bars, to come back today. And I was sharing with the audience during the commercial break, I just said to our millions of viewers that that videotape alone would not have put him behind bars for 36 years. Ms. RODWIN: Oh, that videotape–the maximum amount of jail would have been one year based on the assault you saw. That’s only a misdemeanor assault under the law. What put him in jail for 36 years was Susan’s testimony about the felony assault, the time he hit her and shattered her eardrum, the time he kicked her and was wearing shoes, the time he whipped her with a belt, the time he beat her over the head with a book. Those are dangerous instruments that makes it a felony. And the judge recognized that each of those felonies was a separate crime and needed jail time one on top of the other. WINFREY: And how did her co-worker’s records play a role? MS. RODWIN: The co-worker’s records were essential because the date book that Lyn Jasper kept recorded when she saw bruises on Susan. So it helped to document. And that’s the key, a victim, her friends, her family need to document what happens to them, so that when they choose to come forward, we’re ready to proceed and go forward, hold people accountable. WINFREY: Well, we received thousands of e-mails after our viewers saw Susan being beaten on that tape. Here’s one more letter I wanted to share with you. Take a look. HEATHER: I sat down and watched one hour of Mrs. Still’s compelling story and I cried. I cried harder than I had ever cried. I saw myself in her. I had already made my safe exit, but I was still trapped inside of it, wanting to jump right back in and fix it. This woman has opened my eyes to what I could not see before. Mrs. Still has saved me from becoming the beaten and abused wife statistic. WINFREY: That woman’s name is Heather. And Heather wanted to thank Susan in person. She’s here. Come on up, Heather. [APPLAUSE] MS. BERRIAULT: Thank you so much. WINFREY: So how did seeing that tape really become an–epiphanal moment for you? MS. BERRIAULT: Nobody in my family has ever experienced domestic abuse. They were all extremely helpful in talking to me, but nobody could relate what I was feeling and they couldn’t understand why I wanted to fix it. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. MS. BERRIAULT: And they couldn’t understand why I wanna go back. Hearing Susan talked and saying and feeling the same exact things that I felt, made it feel like it was okay to leave. WINFREY: Yeah. MS. BERRIAULT: It was okay to walk out. WINFREY: Well, the statistics say that, on average, a battered woman will go back to her abuser seven times. Seven times. Why did you want to go back? Because I think that’s the hardest–that’s what makes it so hard for people not to be judgmental because really, we don’t understand why would you want to go back to somebody who hit you? MS. BERRIAULT: Well, you think you can fix it. I’ve only been married not even two years, so I kept saying to myself, maybe this is the normal marriage things, you know, the normal marriage working out problems you need to fix. But then when it progressed from verbal to physical, you start really questioning, this isn’t early marriage crisis that you need to fix. WINFREY: Yeah. MS. BERRIAULT: These are real problems. WINFREY: Yeah. So you heard–your husband was verbally abusive also? MS. BERRIAULT: Yes. It started out–I went through a lot more verbal and emotional abuse. WINFREY: Uh-huh. MS. BERRIAULT: And it progressed into physical. WINFREY: Yeah. And, you know, I think a lot of women hold out and, in thinking, as long as he hasn’t hit me, I’m okay. WINFREY: And when I talked to Susan’s sons, especially the older son, he said he always knew. Your son, your oldest son said, I always knew. And the first night he hit her, I knew, well, now that’s happened. Because in all the years he– watching his mother being verbally abused, he said he expected it when it happened. MS. BERRIAULT: Exactly. SUSAN STILL: Yeah. WINFREY: Well, thank you. MS. BERRIAULT: Thank you very much. WINFREY: You saved one life. You saved one life. That’s one we know about. [APPLAUSE] WINFREY: Coming up, as promised, a step-by-step escape plan for you or someone you love. And the letter Susan’s ex-husband sent to me from prison when we come back. WINFREY: I received a–this four-page handwritten letter from Susan’s ex-husband, Ulner Lee Still, who was sentenced to 36 years at Attica Correctional facility. And in it, he writes that he takes full responsibility, he says, for his wrongdoing on that video, but also says that there were evil demonic forces at work in their home. He claims there were spirits in the house. And I shared the entire letter with Susan before the show. What do you wanna say? Are you surprised by what he wrote? SUSAN STILL: Not at all. WINFREY: Not at all. SUSAN STILL: Not at all. And I find it very interesting that he will accept responsibility for what happened on the video alone. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: When there was so much more. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. SUSAN STILL: Which says a lot. WINFREY: Yeah, I thought this was an interesting letter. I still would like to interview him because I wanna know what happened to him. And a lot of our viewers also ask that question. Was he–do you know if he was abused as a child? Which isn’t an excuse, but at least, it would help explain why he seemed so… SUSAN STILL: I know that he witnessed his own mother being abused. WINFREY: Okay. SUSAN STILL: He says that he was the one that stepped in to save her. WINFREY: Uh-huh. SUSAN STILL: So… WINFREY: Yeah. Well, we want to get a plan. We want a plan. And first of all, I want to address this, too. I want to address it, because a lot of people on the message boards were upset with me because they thought I was being a racist, which is so offensive to me, I have to tell you, all of you all who wrote that, saying that I was being a racist because I allowed or showed a black man beating on a white woman. And I just wanna say, race is not the point, people. Race is… SUSAN STILL: Yes. WINFREY: Race is not the point here. This isn’t about race. [APPLAUSE] WINFREY: I’m so offended, offended by that. What do you wanna say? ‘Cause I know you read some of the message boards, too. SUSAN STILL: I did. WINFREY: And you were offended, ’cause they thought you were white. SUSAN STILL: Yes. They thought I was white and that he was black. WINFREY: And you’re actually mixed race. SUSAN STILL: I am mixed. WINFREY: Yeah. Mm-hmm. And then I had something to do with the black man beating on a white woman. [LAUGHTER] WINFREY: Please. Please. SUSAN STILL: My–I get very upset about that because I feel that it does, it takes the focus off what the issue is. WINFREY: Yeah. Yeah. SUSAN STILL: And the issue is that nobody should be putting their hands on anyone else. WINFREY: Yes. SUSAN STILL: And that’s the issue. WINFREY: And he, and he wanted you to be called a white… SUSAN STILL: White… WINFREY: …ho slut. SUSAN STILL: Yes. And I was the white slave in the house because he felt that was demeaning to me. SUSAN STILL: He wanted to demean me. He wanted me to make me submissive. And so that was what he referred to. WINFREY: Yeah. WINFREY: We’ll be back in a moment. WINFREY: Lisa Rodwin is again, the prosecutor that put Susan’s ex- husband behind bars. Lisa says it is critical to have a plan in place before you leave. She says not having a plan could get you killed. So what are the steps you want women today to need to take before they leave? MS. RODWIN: Well, the first and foremost idea is to get a personal plan that’s right for you. Whether you called the shelter in your community, whether you called the National Domestic Violence Hotline, a state domestic violence hotline, there’s a different plan depending on whether you live in a farm in South Dakota or live in the city of Detroit. A plan has to be right for who you are, where you live, how many kids you have. So you figure out what you’re gonna do before you take that first step. Second, you wanna create a code word, a– trusted friend, a trusted family member. Susan told us about how she and Lyn had a code word. So if she was in urgent need of a police officer then at that moment, she should call Lynne, use that code, and the police would show up. You wanna file police reports. It doesn’t mean you have to have someone arrested. But if something happens, and you want a document to show down the road what has been happening to you, file that police report. WINFREY: But what about if like Susan, would she when she said that, I think a lot of women identified with it. If I had called the police, I would have gotten it worse when he left. MS. RODWIN: Well, you want to make sure that you do your plan before you file the police report. You wanna keep documents. When you’re ready to reach out for help, the police will be there. There are services for you, but you never take that first step without knowing what the next step after that is. You wanna have a document, a journal of all the stuff that’s going on in your life, when you’re being hurt, how you are being hurt. What’s going on. You wanna see a doctor. You know that you can document the medical records, and you wanna see that doctor, you wanna make a plan, and when you’re ready to call the police, call the police. You wanna have an emergency bag. MS. RODWIN: And that bag has to be hidden. Your journal has to be hidden. Your documentation has to be hidden. Not in your house. Not in your car. That has to be hidden at work or with a neighbor or family member. Your emergency bag also hidden, money, checkbook, credit cards, documents that you need, Social Security numbers, information about immigration issues. All of that should be in your emergency bag. An–extra set of car keys. Any court papers you have, orders of protection. Don’t just make one copy, copy for work, copy for your neighbor, copy for the kids’ school, and extra medications. So when you are ready to go, you pick up that bag and you walk out, and you don’t look back. WINFREY: Coming up, part two of the escape plan for you or someone you love. Critical steps to follow once you leave the abuser when we come back. Very good. Very good. WINFREY: Susan said something I think is very important for everybody who’s in the same situation that she did not document. WINFREY: And so when you’re on the witness stand, it’s hard to recall, because all the abuse and beatings, and… SUSAN STILL: No. SUSAN STILL: I had to go back and think of things. I mean, I couldn’t remember every incident at all. SUSAN STILL: I mean it was, I think I remember 15 or so. But you have to remember how many times were you kicked, what was on their foot, how many times were you punched, where were you punched? On a scale of one to 10, how, what was the pain? 10 being the greatest. WINFREY: Mm-hmm. WINFREY: So it’s better to do exactly what you’re saying. Write that down somewhere and keep it, not in your house, but with your trusted friend. Part two of the escape plan covers what you should do after you leave the abuser. Walk us through that, Lisa. WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: You have to remember a lot. MS. RODWIN: Okay. It’s very important, and this was developed with a lot of specialists, including social workers at my office. Tell people what’s going on. Reach out to your family. Reach out to your friends. They’re there. They love you. They wanna help you succeed and stay safe. Get an order of protection the day you leave. Not tomorrow. Not next week. You go to the court. Every single state in this country, you can get an immediate order protection. And you make lots of copies in the car, in your purse, at work. You give it to the security guy at work. You give it to the principal at school. Get the order protection. Put 911 on your speed dial. You press one, the police are there. Change your cell phone number. You wanna make it harder for that person to get back in your life and follow you and control you. MS. RODWIN: Change your daily routine. Don’t go to the same grocery store. Don’t go to the same shopping mall. Change up a little bit where you are and where you usually go. Very important, avoid being alone. Don’t go rent an apartment where no one else is an adult who–knows where you are and where you’re staying. Stay with somebody who loves you, and takes care of you, and wants to support you. If you’re going out to the mall, go with a girl friend. If you’re going out for the weekend, make sure somebody is with you. Find a safe place to stay. There are battered women shelters. There are safe homes. There are all kinds of support services. There is a whole community of support services with people like me, ready to hold out a hand and say grab on. We’re here for you. WINFREY: Yes. And thank God, this generation of women has, what our mothers and mothers before them did not have, did not have at all. And what did you wanna say about your children? All children? SUSAN STILL: When children are in this position, and mine were ripped out of their home. We literally left with nothing. They, they went to school one day and did not go back home. It’s very traumatic. And there was not really anything in place for them in regards to the emotions and things that they were going through. We did end up in a safe house, which, by the way, if you have no one in your family or a friend to support, there are many, many people out there who will support you. Do not feel alone. Do not feel that you can’t leave because you don’t have that. WINFREY: Yeah. SUSAN STILL: But in the safe house, there was one person for all the children in the safe house. And was there, able to help them if there was a need because there are some many children. If somebody’s having a problem today, I needed emergency help for my children immediately. They were in a terrible state of mind. I was not able to get emergency help until November of that year. I left in June. WINFREY: Wow. We’ll be right back. WINFREY: Well, if you are staying in an abusive relationship for the sake of your children, you are making the worst mistake of your life and your children’s lives. Today is the day you can make a plan. You can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline and get help. Their number is there on the screen, 1-800-799- SAFE. Thanks for watching.

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