I grew up in Texarkana, Arkansas. I became a rebellious teenager. I met a boy. At that age, I did not know my own value, and was so caught up in the thrill of our young love that I made excuses for him when, shortly into our relationship, he started to call me names and was physically rough with me. In short order, the name-calling escalated to yelling and locking me outside in the cold. Then, he started hurting my family — including assaulting my father, who was blind.
One fateful day, he suggested that we rob my great-aunt. I went along with him, because by then I had learned that it was paramount to my safety to not anger him, to humor him, and to support him unconditionally. He told me that he would commit the robbery, and that I should then come pick him up so we could leave town. I agreed, unable at that age to process the risks we were taking and the potential consequences.