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Jewel is living a dream now that she’s married to rodeo champion Ty Murray. The couple dated for ten years before tying the knot in August, and now they’re looking forward to starting a family.

“I really love being married,” she tells me. “I feel more settled. It’s fun feeling like you have a partner and somebody who is always there for you.”

His parents also live at the Texas ranch with the happy couple.

“We ride horses together a lot,” she says.

But things weren’t always so rosy for Jewel, 34, who is selling copies of her country CD, Perfectly Clear, for just $1 on her Web site this Friday, November 28.

She urges those threatened by significant others to get help during the Kiss For Country campaign, which raises awareness about domestic violence. She shares her story.

“I was homeless for a year when I was 18 because I wouldn’t agree when my boss propositioned me,” Jewel tells me. “I was answering the phones at a computer warehouse, and he asked me to sleep with him. When I turned him down, he wouldn’t give me my paycheck, so I was kicked out of where I was living because I couldn’t pay my rent. I didn’t have enough money to get another place, so I ended up homeless for about a year.”

“A lot of the women who were on the streets at the same time as me were on the streets because they fled abusive families – parents or relationships – boyfriends or husbands. I think this is an issue a lot of people don’t talk about because a lot of people don’t understand. They think ‘if you’re being abused, why don’t you just leave?’ It isn’t always that easy. You don’t always have somewhere to go. Women’s shelters are very important. Sometimes women even need to change their names and their identities so men can’t find them.”

Jewel urges women affected by this situation to get out – fast. “Find a shelter,” she says. “Find a place to be able to get away – especially if you have kids.”

“Obviously it’s important for yourself to be able to stop abuse, but kids – daughters who are raised in abusive homes usually end up being with abusive men and boyfriends – and then the young men aren’t really taught how to handle anger in any different way, so if they were abused by their parents, even though they might resent it and don’t want to become somebody who hurts someone else, chances are that they will because they didn’t learn a healthier way of dealing with it. There’s more at stake than just your own future – it’s the future of your kids.”        

Jewel turned her situation around, and she urges those suffering at the hands of domestic violence to do the same.

Pick up a copy of her CD, Perfectly Clear, for just $1 on her Web site this Friday. Proceeds benefit the Country Music Hall of Fame.

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