The Burning Bed

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"The Burning Bed"

A turning point in battle against domestic violence

Research Paper

Department of Criminal Justice
Fall 2013


Beaten, bruised, broken bones and black eyes. Humiliated, discouraged and emotionally damaged. These are just a few of the things that Francine Hughes went through for over 12 years receiving abuse from her husband, James “Mickey” Hughes. Every nine seconds in the U.S. a women is assaulted or beaten (Schneider, 2000). Her story is a unique one in a sense, which she lived in a time where no one spoke publically about spousal abuse at all. Women were told that what happens in the house stays in the house and no one else should know about it. So for
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Then he would come back and start it again. It was so bad that Francine lived in paranoia. Some identifiable beliefs and actions of paranoid-related disorders include mistrust, taking offense easily, difficulty with forgiveness, defensive attitude in response to imagined criticism, preoccupation with hidden motives, fear of being deceived or taken advantage of, inability to relax, argumentative, abrupt, and stubbornness ( A few days would go by, serene, but she would go to bed at night thinking that she might wake up being abused by her husband.
She learned that if she fought back, it would only make matters worse. Francine began to entertain thoughts of suicide. She felt that killing herself was best thing to do to end the inferno of abuse. According to, Over 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. And the most common mental illness is depression. One of the negative life experiences that may cause depression is physical abuse (Kevin Carso). Francine thought, if she killed herself, who was going to take care of her children? Nobody could love them the way she did. She went with plan B which were schemes about how she would sneak off to the airport with her kids and go somewhere where they couldn’t be found. But she would picture her family homeless, sitting on a park bench with nowhere to go and somehow he would find her.
Francine Hughes did not want to kill her husband.
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