Francine Hughes.NGRI.1977.UPI

Francine Hughes Wilson has died, a Michigan woman who endured years of abuse from her husband until, one day in 1977, she set fire to his bedroom while he slept, grabbed her children and ran to the police. She was charged with first-degree murder but was found not guilty by reason of (temporary) insanity; she claimed a voice had urged her to do it. Faith McNulty wrote a book about the case called The Burning Bed, which was turned into a 1984 TV movie starring Farrah Fawcett, watched by a reported 75 million Americans. All are credited with spurring police and prosecutors to take domestic violence more seriously, and women around the country to organize shelters for women and children escaping the abuse. (United Press International)

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