PORTLAND -- Whether sexual, emotional, or verbal, victims of domestic abuse say their situations aren't just hard to leave, they're often hard to recognize.
That’s what inspired an Oregon City woman to write and direct a film called "One Man's Anger; One Woman's Love," which details the years of abuse she suffered.
Mary Knight worked as a social worker for nearly 25 years and was an expert in recognizing and dealing with spousal abuse, but when it came to her life, she didn't recognize the abuse in her own marriage.
Now, Knight is getting ready to premiere her film about that experience, and she's telling her story to try and break the abuse cycle for others.
“I had an extremely abusive childhood,” she said. “I was prostituted as a child. My parents produced child pornography and used me in it.”
Knight didn't even remember her early childhood abuse until she was in her 30s, when she says, she was abused again.
In Knight’s film, the names are changed, but the story is based on the verbal abuse she suffered.
She plays a counselor in the film, which was her former real-life profession.
“I was a psychotherapist and I would think if one of my clients was treated like that by her husband, I would say that was abusive, “she said.
She stayed in her marriage for 23 years before leaving. Years later she wrote a script on her computer, shot the film at a friend's house, and collected the crew through Craigslist.
The story of her life is ready for its debut, and it is a story more common than many may think.
“The statistic is that one in four women in her lifetime will experience domestic or sexual violence,” said Pamela White with Clackamas Women’s Services, an organization that teamed up with Knight for her film.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for education, for people in our community who don’t understand domestic violence and don’t understand domestic violence isn’t always black and blue,” White said.
And, as Knight would tell you, isn't always destined for a sad ending.
“I have such a happy life. A lot of times you wait until something else happens, that’s good. But it’s good right now,” she said.
With her cycle of abuse broken, Knight is ready to help others find peace through film. The film debuts Monday night at a local venue and she's happy to announce that event is nearly sold out.
She's planning more screenings in the future.
For anyone suffering abuse, Women's Services operates a 24-hour support line at 503-654-2288.
KGW reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.