Killer wife tells of life with an abuser
A WOMAN who beat her abusive husband to death with a hammer told domestic violence survivors she broke down in prison when she suddenly realised that she was the victim of coercive control.
Sally Challen, 63, said while on remand accused of her husband Richard’s murder, she took part in a pioneering Freedom Programme course, which defines the dominating partner in a range of domestic violence scenarios.
In a message to the Stand Up To Domestic Violence conference in Newport, South Wales, on Friday, Sally said since leaving prison, she had told everyone she can about coercive control and was now determined to speak out for other victims.
Sally suffered years of abuse before snapping and killing her husband, 61, in 2010. She was jailed for life in 2011, but freed in June when the murder conviction was quashed.
She had been due to attend the conference, the first of its kind, with her son David, but could not be there because her first grandchild was born that morning. In a statement, she told
survivors the prison course referred to male figures including the “bully who shouts” and “the king of the castle who controls your money and treats you like a slave”.
She said: “I broke down at the realisation that this is what I lived.”
Sally told how she was forced into an abortion by Richard as a teenager, was raped and controlled by him during their long marriage and endured his many affairs and brothel visits. She said she was now spreading the message about coercive control.
“I am now free and I am able to live a true life,” she said.
“I am so grateful to [feminist organisation] Justice for Women and my sons David and James. It’s released me from prison after nine years.”
Hollywood star Michael Sheen, 50, told the domestic violence conference men “must start to take responsibility” for their domestic abuse.
Sally with sons David, right, and James on first day of her release in June