Law enforcement officials at a rally Monday said the fight against domestic abuse won’t be effective until more victims break their silence so their abusers can be brought to justice and until more resources are devoted to the issue.

But the road to justice is not always straight and narrow — and the story Lechana Rankins, 39, of Baton Rouge, tells may not be all that unusual.

One October night in 1996, she said, an abusive partner who already hurt her twice attacked her again, so she grabbed a knife and stabbed him.

She cannot remember if he was arrested, but she remembers all too vividly when police handcuffed her and threw her in the back of a police car, arresting her on attempted murder. Her charge later was downgraded to aggravated second-degree battery, but she still received three years’ probation and had to pay her batterer restitution and his doctor’s bills.