Cynthia Hammond of Sacramento tells the Sacramento Bee from her wheelchair that over the years, her boyfriend, Joe McCoy, had beaten her during fits of rage. In 2009, McCoy accused her of being with another man, and broke her neck. Hammond, 50, a mother of two and a longtime employee and supervisor for Rite Aid pharmacies, became a quadriplegic with very limited use of her body below her shoulders.
In reports about McCoy's trial last month, the news media protected Hammond's identity. Now that McCoy is behind bars, the woman known until now as Jane Doe wants to go public with her story in hopes of persuading others to leave abusive relationships. “Joe's going to prison, and I am in prison, too,” she said. “This chair is my prison. But if my story can influence someone who is being abused to get out, or to help someone else to escape, then the price that I have paid will be worth it.” In a lengthy interview, Hammond reflected on her relationship with McCoy, why she stayed with him, and how her life has changed since the beating that left her dependent on others.