"She's been there," Rochelle said. "My goal," she said, and then stops to catch her breath, "is to be like her."
It's a wide, toothy and proud grin. It comes in the middle of a sentence when she is trying to catch her breath. Rochelle smiles when deep in thought, and she smiles without a thought.
Not long ago she didn't smile at all, and when she did, she would catch herself and hide her mouth with a hand. Not long ago, she was missing a front tooth, and the one had turned black.
A man knocked both of those teeth out, but Rochelle thought she had saved one by pushing it back into her gums. Soon it turned black, and she said people made fun of her black tooth.
A special program run by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry matched her with a Louisville dentist, who fixed her smile.
Rochelle has survived not one, but four abusive relationships. When she prays, she asks God for peace.
At the shelter Rochelle is learning how to take care of herself. She also takes care of a spider plant. Someone at the shelter threw it out, but Rochelle saved it. As she nurses the plant back to health, she is nursing herself, too.
"I feel safe here," she said.
Rochelle has been in shelters before. "It doesn't look good ...," she said, explaining that it doesn't look good that she is back at another shelter. "The shelter was good, but it was me ... I used to drink, and it fogged my thinking."
That changed, she said, when she got the Holy Spirit. She was in her 40s.
It would be easy if this was where it ended - if Rochelle had found God and everything turned around for her, but it has still been a long journey.
She lost her children. She lost a home, but she found another man at church. At first things were wonderful, then he started to abuse her, too.
Rochelle understands how abused women feel. They may get beaten and call the police, but even if their abuser is locked up, he may only be locked up for one night and then he might be back, angrier. Those who want to leave may not have anywhere to go or any way to get there.
When she was swirling in her cycle of abuse, Rochelle said she didn't realize she could call the domestic violence hotline. She didn't realize that someone would come and get her and find her a place to stay, that they would find her clothes to wear, toiletries and food. She didn't realize that there was a way out. "I almost lost my life ... because I wanted to take it," she said.
* Two of the women interviewed were angry with social services. Their children had been placed in foster care, and they continually work with a case worker. Here are their stories:
Sheila was bruised and scratched. Her husband had beaten her until her head swelled to the size of a basketball.
This was not what hurt the most.
She said the real pain was when social services took her kids away.
Her husband called and told them she was a drug user. Even after a handful of urine tests came back negative, she is still dealing with the system.
This summer instead of playing with her kids, going on camping trips or vacation, she is spending it jumping through hoops. She goes to alcohol and drug treatment programs, to social service visits, to counselor meetings for her children, to doctor visits, and then there isn't much time for anything else, not even work.
She said her kids used to never give her hassle about their chores but now threaten to call the social worker if things don't go their way.
Now they have bills to pay. Medical bills from when her husband beat her up. Bills from the dentists and doctors for the checkups mandated by social services. There are the things from the fight that need to be replaced, like her glasses and her cell phone. "Now my kids live out of fear," Sheila said. "Fear of social services."