Young and poor, Bonnie Bucqueroux said she worried every time the weather turned cold and she was housebound with her abusive husband and had nowhere to turn.
“I married at 18 because my parents didn’t like my boyfriend,” she told ABCNews.com. “But I discovered in the first six months he had a very violent streak. In elementary school, he almost killed another student — he almost choked him to death.”
One night in the middle of a Michigan snowstorm, he took his “cabin fever” out on Bucqueroux, she said.
“He was a heavy drinker and often I found myself in a bad situation, trapped in our trailer with not enough money for a phone,” she said.
“One snowy evening, I walked into the kitchen just to try and sweep up the floor. I didn’t know he had crept up behind me. For some reason, he grabbed me and threw me across the room, bouncing me off the cabinets. He kicked me and threw me out in the snow and locked the door.”
Bucqueroux said she was so “profoundly humiliated,” she couldn’t even seek help from a neighbor. So, she banged on the trailer door, begging her husband to let her back in.
“It was 1962 — there were no shelters and no place to go,” she said.
Today, Bucqueroux, 69 and long widowed, teaches at Michigan State University’s School of Journalism and was the former coordinator of its Victims and the Media program.
When the weather turns bitter cold, as it has been across the country this week, she worries about an uptick in domestic violence.