October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and many people, men and women, were here Monday night. The keynote speaker was herself a victim of this abuse that came to a tragic conclusion nearly 20 years ago.
Four years ago the gates of the California Institution for Women opened, allowing Rose Parker another chance of having a free life.
From 1983 to 1986 Parker was involved with an abusive boyfriend. Rose left her abuser, but the abuse didn't stop. For the next for months, he continued to stalk her and violently rape her.
When she became pregnant from that attack, he kicked her in the stomach. It all came to a head in 1986 when the boyfriend held Rose at gunpoint in her home for four days.
When her brother came to rescue her, her boyfriend began hitting him. Rose picked up a gun and killed her ex-boyfriend.
Rose was convicted of murder and sentenced to 27 years to life. Rose is not alone. Each year, about one million women suffer violence by a romantic partner about one in three adult women experience at least one physical assault by a partner during adulthood.
Women between the ages of 19 to 29 reported more violence by intimates than any other age groups about 95 percent of domestic violence victims are women.
Rose met a lot of women in prison with similar stories. She began helping as many as possible. Because of the circumstances, Rose's case drew a lot of attention.
In 2000, then California Gov. Gray Davis released Rose from prison. Since her release, rose married a minister. They run a Los Angeles area church and she continues to tour the country talking for people about the cycle of abuse and how to stop it.
Domestic violence isn't just a crime against woman. Men can also be victims, usually in the form of mental or emotional abuse
You can log onto Rose’s Web site at www.savingourwomen.org.