Polly Mitchell

Normally I blog about current crimes in the home. But today is a little different. Today is about hope. Today is about escape.

Polly Mitchell’s story is one of the more extreme cases of domestic violence. Polly met her husband David in 1993, when she was 17 years old. She thought he was attractive and charming. David was her first boyfriend. Three months after their first date, he hit her. But they continued to date, married, and had 4 children together. Polly says she was beaten daily. Beaten in front of her children. Raped. And imprisoned.

The home was locked from the outside. The windows were covered with tin foil. Polly didn’t tell anyone, not even her mother. David had told her that he would kill her if she told anyone, and Polly believed him. Polly says that when she was beaten, her children would hide or try to get between the couple. Then one child started acting like her husband. That scared her.

In 2003, Polly called a domestic violence agency and told her story to them. They helped her escape through a window in her home, and took her to safety.

In 2004, David pled no contest to charges of false imprisonment, terroristic threats, and two counts of child abuse for beating their mother in front of the children. He was sentenced to 14 to 20 years and will be eligible for parole in 2011.

The prosecutor says that she believes that David really had no sense that he was doing anything wrong. She believes that in his mind, they were his family and he had the right to do what he did. That somehow he could justify it to himself.

Polly says she still loves David. A psychologist explains that like this: “”It’s part of her having been so focused on him for so long and having her whole sense of who she is and what the world is organized around him. … And when you leave that situation physically, that doesn’t mean that you’ve left it psychologically and emotionally.”

And Polly says that she is different now. She says that she has more self confidence, she is stronger. She is in counseling to overcome the years of abuse. Polly is in her final year of nursing school. She has a boyfriend. And she feels she needs to tell her story, in the hope that it may help others. In her words: “I feel there’s a lot of people out there who are in the same spot I was in and who feel helpless, and they don’t know the way out. And I guess I’ve been given the voice to tell those people.” About herself, Polly says: “I’m at the stage where I’m really angry when I see my kids acting out or doing something that he may have done. It really, really makes me mad. I’m through the sad stage I think. And I’m at mad, and I haven’t forgiven.”

Polly’s children are also in counseling. Her oldest daughter was hospitalized briefly for severe depression. Her youngest son is struggling to learn to control his temper. Polly wants things to be better for them, and she is hoping that they will escape the horror of what happening without any long lasting effects. Because Polly feels that what happened with David may have had roots in his past. Polly says that David’s father treated his mother in similar ways. Until finally, his mother fought back and killed his father with a shotgun blast.

The future is still not certain for Polly. David will possibly be getting out of prison in 2011. Polly thinks she wants to face him. She is stronger now, and changed.  “I don’t feel like he has the mental hold over me like he used to. There’s nothing that he could do or say that could hurt me because in my mind he’s nothing.”

But her mother fears for the time that he gets out. And so does the prosecutor. They feel she could still be in danger from David.


How could she continue to love him? That is the part that so many don’t understand about domestic violence victims. And the psychologist had an answer. If you think about it, a domestic violence victim spends a large portion of his/her life focused on the abuser. Their every desire, request, even every expression on their face could mean something major in their life. If the abuser is unhappy, they will be beaten. If the abuser doesn’t get what he/she wants, they will beaten. Even if they had a bad day at work, they could be beaten.

Yet the abuser is also the one who gives the rewards. When the abuser is happy, life is much easier. The abuser may be nicer. The abuser may “allow” certain “privileges”. The privileges don’t have to be big ones, as a matter of fact, those privileges are often things that most of us take for granted. Talking to relatives or going to the store are examples. But without the abusers “goodwill”, they wouldn’t be possible.

Many identify it with Stockholm Syndrome.  Stockholm syndrome

NOUN: A phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor.


For more reading on Stockhom Syndrome and relationships:


More or less, during the relationship- the well being of the abuser takes precedence over the well being of the victim. That gets mixed in and confused with the love the victim initially felt for the abuser. And it becomes a habit. A very hard habit to break.

Polly Mitchell is out and safe now. And going on with a life. But what will happen when David is released from prison? What will his response be when he finds Polly is no longer under his control?



  1. Anita said,

    September 12, 2006 at 10:14 am

    To stop domestic violence we must start teaching little girls early–from
    day one–that they are important, that they can survive without a man,
    and to become educated and self sufficient. No one deserves the abuse
    these women endure. We must ALL work towards stopping this. If one out of
    3 women is abused, then YOU know someone. DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
    Don’t let it continue. Ever.

  2. the star of this blog said,

    September 29, 2006 at 7:26 pm

    I read this article and just want to say…..I do not love him anymore……i do not want to meet him but in someways i feel i must prepare myself just in case…..and I have…..thanks for writing the blog and furthering my cause to educate more women…….the bigger my audience the better…….the email i listed is wrong and i didnt put my name in either….this is for the sole purpose of hope……there are plenty of women in this country and around the world that suffer in silence…..I have spoken out to help them…to be their voice….and i will continue to do so whether my ex husband is in or out of jail……once again thank you for spotlighting my story

  3. September 29, 2006 at 7:38 pm

    You are welcome. You are not alone in the world, or even in what happened to you. As you know many women also continue to suffer, and many don’t make it out. Thank you for being strong and for following through and for then telling your story so that others can learn it is possible to make it out.

  4. Polly S. Mitchell said,

    December 4, 2006 at 3:35 am

    This is so strange. I am a Polly Mitchell. My husband (married him twice) was David Mitchell. Though there were no legal consequences other than divorce, there were episodes of domestic violence. I am much older than the “star” of this article, born in 1942.

  5. December 4, 2006 at 4:46 am

    LOL, that is a coincidence! Well, you are welcome here anyway and I am glad you survived the domestic violence.

  6. Gina DeFlorio said,

    July 17, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Self esteem. It’s not about the monster – men women meet and hook up with. There will always be low-life humans we will meet. It’s about self esteem. How can this type of situation happen in 2008 ? Are we regressing back to the 1800’s ? Educate yourselves if you happen to have been raised by neglectful parents. A woman with self worth doesn’t entertain monsters.
    I am tired of these “women as victims ” stories. Wake up ladies. Take the wheel of your life.

  7. Polly Sauers said,

    February 1, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I am also a survivor of domestic violence – 3 times. I highly recommend that everyone, everywhere read the following book by Ron Clark, Preacher for the Church of Christ Congration in Oregon. Ron also runs a domestic violence shelter in Oregon with his wife. “Theology on Domestic Violence: Setting the Captives Free.” The book costs about 29.00 and has to be ordered through either the internet or a book store.

  8. Polly Sauers said,

    February 1, 2009 at 3:25 am

    I apologize, Ron is the preacher for the Church of Christ Congregation – mispelled congregation.

  9. Polly Sauers said,

    February 1, 2009 at 3:29 am

    In addition, for all that are trying to help the victims, the abusers – victims little and small….THANK YOU! I am trying to speak to the Elders at the Church of Christ I attend in Houston, Texas regarding teaching more about the dangers of domestic violence in the home as well as teaching our children at church at a very early age the warning signs of domestic violence as well as dating violence, control issues, narcissim, etc. Please continue to “speak” and be a “voice” against domestic violence. Maybe, together, we can END domestic violence. I recently began taking prerequisites to try to position myself to enter Nursing school to be on the front line of trying to help in the area of domestic violence. I am continuing to pray that I will be able to accomplish that goal as well as continue to inform others about the dangers. Again, read the book, “Theology on Domestic Violence: Setting the Captives Free” by Ron Clark. Thanks!

  10. Polly Sauers said,

    February 1, 2009 at 3:31 am

    In addition, as always, continue daily Bible study and, of course, while reading the book by Ron Clark…..have the Bible handy as Ron gives many scriptures in his book.

  11. February 2, 2009 at 3:21 am

    Polly thank you for what you are doing within the Church. In many families if a violent episode occurs the church will be the first place the family will turn to. And it is so important that the episode is not minimized, that it is recognized that the family does need help and that safety is paramount. And that often means the family must separate while that help is being obtained. If that inital request from the church minimizes the abuse, many times the victim will not seek more help.

    My personal feeling is that DV is like a sickness in the family. And if there is a sickness in the family, you would go to the church for prayers. But you would also see a doctor for treatment. And in DV you still need to see your church for prayers- but you need to see the DV agencies for treatment. Because they are the ones who have the experience in safety and can offer the needed sanctuary.

  12. Mom of two in GA said,

    March 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

    I just saw this story on 20/20 on WE. It said that David was eligible for parole in 6 years, so that would be this year. Is there any word on if/when he will be released?

  13. mary said,

    April 26, 2009 at 3:50 am


  14. mary said,

    April 26, 2009 at 3:52 am


  15. Cindy said,

    May 7, 2009 at 9:28 pm

    Back off, Mary. Most of us have no idea how terrible of a situation this is because we have never experienced it. Some things you can’t understand until you are put into that situation. She feared for her life and the lives of her children. There is a cycle to domestic violence that you obviously are not educated about. Before you start throwing stabs at someone who already feels terrible about wasting 10 years of her life, you should probably research the facts. Also, how heartless can you be…not every person in this world is strong. I happen to be a strong individual and can say now that I wouldn’t get into a situation like that. These situations happens across races, cultures, etc – you name it. If you are reading this, Polly, I am sorry. There are many people out there that happen to be supportive of you and the choice you made. Best of luck.

  16. mary said,

    May 16, 2009 at 4:39 am

    For your information Cindy, I am educated on domestic violence and have experienced it for myself. But I’ll be damned if I was going to put up with it for more that a day, much less 10 years!!!! I was out of that relationship immediatley. Yeah, I loved the man, but I wasn’t going to take it or put up with it or hope he was going to change just because he said he wouldn’t do it again. Please!!!!!!!!! You have no self esteem, no love for yourself, and no brains to put up with it that long, especially having kids. She should have called the police the very first time the violence started. She should have put her kids first instead of loving this man. And she says she stills loves him…What is that????? Nothing but craziness. She should have went to jail too, for keeping her kids in that enviroment for so long. Isn’t that child abuse or neglect? Now they are all messed up in the head because she didn’t get them out of there soon enough.

  17. Faith said,

    May 20, 2009 at 5:38 am

    To start with I was there I am a family member and not all that is being said is true. There are two parts of every story and you all are only getting oneside. Polly was told in front of family to leave David left the door un-locked but she stayed. She was not in harm that long they did live with her mother where she came and went when she wanted. Polly also lived in a home that her mother owned and he did not control her there because he know that he could have no place to go if her mother found out. Polly hit those kids alot more than David did I have been there when she would hit them with hangers and other things. David has many mental problems the family does know that and so did she. Polly has got away with this because women in this world believe that and know that if they say a man did something the cops will come running. I do not believe what David did was wright in any means. He needs mental help more than anything and Polly as his wife should have stepped up and got that for him. Plus they say she had no phone then how did she call the cops and everyone els. Polly told me personaly that she was going to get away and I told her she should and to let me know if she needed help because I was worryed about the kids. She know what she was doing and if she would have just left and told David to go get help and not have him in jail he would have. After she left he started his life over. David got a job and was living with family and did not care what she and the kids did( as long as they kept in touch0. He was starting to see other people as well. So before you all start to feel bad for one look at both sides. Polly you should have left the day he told you to when I was there. None of this would have happened and you could have moved on. So lets try to tell the whole truth and nothing but please because I can show and tell you alot that Polly and her family did not say.

  18. mary said,

    May 20, 2009 at 6:25 pm

    Thanks Faith, I knew Polly had more responsiblity in this whole situation than she was admitting!!!!! Like you said, she could have left a number of times. I am so sick of people feeling sorry for her. I beleive she was just covering her ass by putting all the blame on David. She always said that she couldn’t use the home phone because David would know the last number dialed. Like you said, so how did she call the YWCA then?????? Her story is so full of contridictions. Like I said in a previous post, she just wanted the attention and she probably got paid from being on those tv shows. And she probably also got alot of help and money from people who felt sorry for her. I don’t feel sorry for her a bit. As a family member Faith, you should come out and tell the whole story for everyone to know the truth. I’m glad you at least put it on here for some to see. Polly’s such a phoney and she will get her’s in the end.

  19. Faith said,

    May 20, 2009 at 9:45 pm

    Well there is more to it than just what I said. Polly has to take some of the blame on this because she knows what was going on was wrong. I think her family put her up to alot of this to. When her sissters kids would come for Polly to watch them or just stay the night they knew they could not come and get the kids till David got home. I am not tyring to get Polly in trouble or her family but they did not tell the whole story. My other thing is if Polly was a stay at home mom then why did the house look so nasty. There where close everywhere, trash all over, and the kids dirty dipers where to. Plus the kids look nasty al the time. I have pictures to prove what all that looked like and that she did get out alot. She came to many family stuff on both sides of the family. Polly needs to look back at what she did to those kids and David before she tries to help others. She has no wright to be out there when she is at half fault. David told her he did not want her and for her to take the kids and get ouy in a fight around a month before she did all that. Polly did not want David to be with anyone else if she could not be with him. And yes she did get money because if not she would not have been able to get her RN and be able to buy a new house this year. OO I forgot to let people know that the stuff about Davids mother and father was not all true. Polly and the T.V. shows did not reseach it befor they opened there mouths on it. The funny thing is Polly kept in thouch with Davids mother for awhile after all this happened. So I do hope Polly will read this and maybe come and and tell the whole truth on it. Marie you sound like you might know Polly or David.

  20. mary said,

    May 21, 2009 at 3:33 am

    No, I don’t know either of them. I have just seen the shows and news reports about them. I know her type though. I just wish the truth would come out about her though. I have no respect for women who try to use the law to get their way, even when they are in the wrong. And I know she has a boyfriend. Why in the world, if what she says is true about her abuse with David, would she get involved with aonther man so soon????? You would think a normal thinking person wouldn’t want to even be around a man again. So, to me that is just another contridiction to her story. Just doesn’t make sense. Feel sorry for the kids. Well, thanks Faith for the added info. I wish everyone would know the truth. You should call up 20/20 or Larry King or Oprah or even the Omaha news stations and let them know the real deal.

  21. Faith said,

    May 21, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I was thinking about doing that but I have no idea on how to get a hold of them and let them know. I have also thought about calling that Montel Williams Show. I think she was also on there. David is going up for a porale hearing this year so I might go to see what they say. I think he was screwed from the beinging because he had a female lawyer and she did not call any of the family on his side to ask any questions to see if we know what was going on. Polly must not be reading this because she has nothing to say for her self now that Davids side of the family is starting to speak out. If any one els has any questions you can contact me at freeb4_112003@yahoo.com. I am more than willing to tell them all that I know. I also hope the ladie that wrote this reads what I have to say because that will show her not to write about something if she does not have both sides of the story. I thank all of you for reading what I have to say about this case.

  22. Barbara A. said,

    May 28, 2009 at 4:01 am

    re: “Polly says that David’s father treated his mother in similar ways. Until finally, his mother fought back and killed his father with a shotgun blast.”

    While TRYING hard to understand this horrible man, it occurs to me that he wanted to punish himself, but did not have the strength.
    I think he wanted Polly to shoot him, unfortunately she did not..

  23. Barbara A. said,

    May 28, 2009 at 4:03 am

    Maybe someone else can do this for her (kill him).

    He won’t be happy until someone kills him.

    Better JUSTICE would be for him to spend the rest of his miserable life in a wheel chair. Then he’ll know what imprisionment is.

  24. Faith said,

    May 28, 2009 at 7:59 pm

    Barbara you do know that is a threat to his life. All I would have to do is send this to the police and they will find you and you will be in big stuff. Plus the thing with his father was not that he did is mother wrong is was that he could not see her with anyone else. if you look at the police report and read the truth befor you open your mouth about something you have no clue on.It would tell you what you want to know. With David he has already tryed to kill him self more than once while in jail because he knew what he did was wrong and that he should not live another day on this earth. So Barbara I would like it if you do not talk about my uncle like that. He is in jail for terroristic threats and that is where you will be if you do this again. That is if his family dont find you first. Not meaning me. But thank you for your in put but lets leave it at that. Plus it was not a shotgun it was a 9 that a family friend gave her to protect herself. As I said that would all be in the poilice report if you read it befor you opened your mouth. I will be giving this all to a family friend who deals with this. He is an police officer. Thank you and have a great day. May the lord bless you.

  25. Polly Anna Mitchell said,

    August 26, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Hello, better late than never, no I am not this lady described but I had a friend that thought it was me and I am here to let them know that its not and not to worry. Also, to this other lady have faith and trust in yourself and that faith.

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