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They even supported me when I had my affair, telling me that my husband was not giving me the attention that I needed.

"I heard some people react to this story that maybe she [the wife] tricked him to get over here," said Rolanda Pierre-Dixon, the attorney who leads the domestic violence unit at the Santa Clara County Prosecutors Office. ' and 'geez, he finally met the love of his life and she deserted him.'" "If I'm a woman and I'm getting beaten, and I read this story, it's tremendously negative because my batterer is telling me all the time no one would believe me," fumed Lisa Breen Strickland, executive director of the Support Network for Battered Women in Mountain View."There are social norms that support domestic violence," explained Janet Carter, managing director of the Family Violence Prevention Fund in San Francisco.Among them: "this is a normal part of marriage...a family affair..was so angry he couldn't help it...there must be a reason he did this. The public thinks, 'if she would just change her behavior,' rather than if he would just change his behavior." "It's not a love story when a man beats a woman so seriously that she goes to the hospital with severe head injuries," reporter Michelle Guido complained.I looked at myself 20 years ago and had a startling and clear epiphany. I looked at the photo and came to the conclusion that I had made a real mess of my life. Of course the hair style was awful but that was the 80s and such styles could be forgiven. My life evolved into something painful and difficult.I felt the utter misery of my life come in waves of sadness, regret, anger, and loneliness. I saw the brightness in my eyes, the sparkle of life, of the great opportunities that were open to me. But until that moment when I looked at my photo from over two decades ago, I always blamed someone else.