Crystal Mangum cried on the stand at times during her murder trial Wednesday in a Durham courtroom.
Mangum, who falsely accused Duke lacrosse players of rape in 2006, is charged with the murder of her boyfriend, Reginald Daye.
Mangum is accused of stabbing Daye during a domestic dispute April 3, 2011, at his apartment in Durham. She has claimed she stabbed her boyfriend in self-defense. Mangum is also charged with larceny.
She has pleaded not guilty to all charges and says she acted in self-defense.
"I was afraid," she said in court Wednesday. "I was in defensive mode, I guess. I was trying to survive. I felt like Reginald was trying to kill me."
She said she missed Daye, who died in the hospital after the stabbing.
"He was a very good person and I don't know what I could have done differently," she said.
She said she felt that "men react violently when they're hurt emotionally."
The prosecution has said Mangum and Daye went to a party on the evening of April 3 and at some point started to argue. The prosecution said Mangum used a knife to stab Daye, went out of the house and to a cousin's apartment, where she told someone what happened.
Ten days after the stabbing, Daye died.
The defense claims Daye admitted to holding Mangum down on the bed until she calmed down and stopped "disrespecting" him.