"It did more damage than good," she said.
When social services left with her children, Amber sat on the couch for two days paralyzed and fraught.
"I felt like it was my fault for calling the police," she said. "I felt like it was completely out of my control. It was awful."
Even foster care scares her.
"You hear stories about foster care, and you wonder what kind of people have your children."
When they took her away, her teenager daughter said, "I thought you people came here to protect me and my mom, not take me away."
* From a Boyle County Sheriff's Office report:
Deputy said he understands that there were two sisters out having sex with other people. The father found out, and "went off." He kicked one of them out of the house. Later one sister wanted the other to return home.
When the she refused, her sister kicked her in the head with her foot, and then got a hammer and hit her in the hand with it. She then said she would get a shotgun.
When the deputy arrived at the father's house he said everything was OK now. The sister that assaulted the other said she was still upset because she thought her sister told their father that they went out and had sex.
The father thought that the girls were having sex for money. Deputy observed that the home "looked like a bomb went off" because the father had thrown a lot of things around. He had broken out the glass in the front door.
* Victims of domestic abuse aren't just those that are physically assaulted. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says that domestic violence can also happen when one intimate partner inflicts psychological or emotional abuse on the other, sexually assaults them, isolates them, controls all of their money, shelter, time or food.
"Laura" never thought she was abused.
"You look at the TV and you think my situation isn't as bad because I'm not being beat up, there are no cigarette burns ... There are a lot of women out there suffering silently because they live in dysfunction."
Laura's husband didn't necessarily use physical force to control her, but instead he used money. He had it, and he made her beg for it.
Laura stayed home to have children and then to raise them. She said she always trusted that her husband was looking after them. There was one checking account for their household expenses, but it never had anything in it. On Fridays she would go buy groceries, get the kids haircuts, and run errands. Then all weekend she would have to ask her husband to write her a check to cover what she had spent. Sometimes she would jump bushes in the front yard to catch him as he headed to work on Monday, begging for money.
Laura never knew what her husband had in his bank account. He wouldn't show her.
"What was I supposed to do?" she asked. "Marriage isn't like a business. You can't take your husband to the judge and say, 'Your honor, I'm not getting to see the checkbook.'"
Later, Laura went back to work. When she did, she was allowed to take $50 out of her check, and the rest she had to hand over to him. She hardly saw any of it.
After a couple of decades of marriage, her husband decided he wanted a divorce. The news hit Laura like a ton of bricks. She said she walked around in a zombie state, emotionally drained and exhausted.
Her husband took her to an attorney in another city for a no-fault divorce. For $75, she was divorced without any rights to his pension and saddled with half of his debt.
"When the bottom is falling out of your world, and you're so out of it, you'll sign whatever they put in front of you."
Laura never saw a judge. Her divorce decree came in the mail.
After years of being kept in the dark, Laura had little financial knowledge.
"Did you know how many different options there are for health insurance, house insurance?"
Slowly she is sorting out her nightmare.
* From "Winged-Plucked Butterfly", a volume of poetry written by local domestic violence survivor and activist, Yolantha Pace:
"My mind is boggled at the tolerance given to domestic violence and domestic abuse in America. What will it take to end the statistical atrocities that condone the attack of woman by her partner every 9 seconds? ...
" ... it is pure insanity that we as women tolerate the abuse of one another and those we have given birth to. We must unite as car-pooling, breastfeeding, colic soothing, tax paying divas, millennium mamas and ladies of political savvy. We must unite and stop chanting that we are as mad as hell and not taking it anymore, but we must unite and JUST STOP TAKING IT!!!"