My book, Beyond the Shadows: I was forced to marry at fourteen, chronicles my life as a fourteen old girl, who was raped by a family friend and later ordered by the judge to marry him. Less than five months into that marriage we left Brava, Cape Verde for the United States of America. In less than five years, I had given birth to three little girls. My husband left us soon after our third child was born for another woman.
During those married years I endured verbal, physical and sexual abuse, all the while wishing for a means of escape. By age twenty-one, I was a divorced mother of four girls, the last one fathered by another man. Although the financial support I received from state welfare was just enough to get by, I had a thirst for a better life for my girls. After several failed attempts, I earned my GED. That still was not enough. Some years later, I was accepted at Rhode Island College where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, becoming the first in my family to earn a college degree.
Twenty-eight years after my divorce, I met and married Gregory L. Branch. We now live in our dream home in Richmond, Rhode Island. I work full-time for our town of Richmond. My objective now is helping victims of domestic abuse to live life violence free.
Copyright 2007 Tea with Marie All rights reserved