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A Journey of Survival to the Breaking Point and Beyond

by Employee Emeritus ‎12-09-2010 03:01 PM - edited ‎12-09-2010 03:50 PM

 

Trina MurrayAfter viewing the Verizon-funded PBS documentary, “Telling Amy’s Story,” Trina Murray, a senior consultant with Verizon Telecom and Business in Chicago, asked to come forward and tell her story in the hope that it would help other employees who might be in a domestic violence situation.   This is her story. . .

 

“It’s too late.”

 

Trina Murray was on the ground in front of her home, staring up at the gun in her husband’s hands when she heard those words.

She prayed, and he fired five bullets into her in front of their son and their neighbors. Then he walked into the house, put the gun away and was sitting on the porch when the police arrived.

“I killed her,” he told the police as they arrested him.

But Trina Murray didn’t die that day in June 2007. Her story of survival from an abusive relationship is a harrowing reminder about the silent epidemic of domestic violence in which three women on average are murdered every day in the United States by a spouse or intimate partner.

You Want to Believe

She was 22 years old when she met him in 1999, and by all appearances he was charming and polite on those initial dates.

“It was all fine,” Trina said. “He seemed like the perfect guy.”

But as they started getting serious about their relationship, he slowly began to exert control over which friend she could see and what she would do. He stopped being polite in his language and threw the first punch about a year into their relationship.

“That was the first time anyone had hit me,” Trina said. “He said he was sorry, and I believed him. And that’s the thing. When you’re being abused, you want to believe that won’t happen again.”

It did, of course. It always does. And if the abuse wasn’t physical, then it was verbal – an unending stream of it that shattered her confidence.

“My family told me that it wasn’t right,” she said. “They said it was not a good relationship and that I should leave. They were right, of course, but when you’re in a situation like that, you begin to doubt yourself – like, maybe I shouldn’t have been with friends, or maybe I should have come home sooner so he wouldn’t get mad.”

She didn’t tell her friends. She didn’t say a word about it at work.

“It’s hard to tell people,” Trina said. “You become a robot. You forget your feelings. It’s all about his feelings. And so you forget about right and wrong; you just want to get through the day without abuse.”

‘I’ll Just Kill You’

Five years into the relationship, they got married. Trina focused on their son and work and tried to keep her husband’s temper at bay.

“I would never argue,” she said, “and sometimes that would calm him down, but every minute had to be programmed as to where I was and what I was doing. If I left work at 3:30, I should be home by 4. You don’t think about it. You find yourself rushing home. There was always that rush to do whatever it took so he wouldn’t get mad.”

The breaking point came in 2007. Another punch … another busted lip. She knew it was time. She told him she was moving back to her mother’s home. He didn’t believe her at first, but when it dawned on him that she was serious, he tried to persuade her to stay.

She started to move some things to her mother’s house. On June 20 she was at home gathering a few more belongings when he asked her to sit so they could talk. He kept asking her to stay; she kept saying no.

He stopped asking when he pulled out a gun and held it to her head, saying, “If you don’t want to be married anymore, I’ll just kill you.”

Trina tried to stay calm … tried to calm him down … tried to persuade him that maybe it could work out … but that only enraged him, and he said he was just going to end it now.

For 45 terrifying minutes, he stood over her with the gun to her head – until their son began knocking on the back door, which the husband had locked.

“As soon as he went to the door, I ran out the front door,” she said. “I was trying to run to the neighbor’s house, but he chased me onto the lawn and hit me in the back of the head with the gun and knocked me down. He pointed the gun at me and I started backing away from him, saying ‘don’t do this,’ but he said ‘it’s too late,’ and then shot me five times.”

Listen to That Inner Voice

Trina woke up a day and a half later. She needed surgery to repair the damage one bullet did to her stomach. Three other bullets were just flesh wounds, and one bullet was lodged in her back. It was never removed.

Her husband pled guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to nine years in prison.

Counseling helped her, although the first session was hard.

“I didn’t speak,” Trina said. “I was saddened, and I cried when I heard the other women tell their stories. They were still in relationships … still being abused constantly. In the next session, I remember telling them that they needed to leave. I told them, ‘you could be dead … I survived, but he was trying to kill me.’”

Trina said she recently saw “Telling Amy’s Story,” the Verizon-funded PBS documentary about a domestic violence homicide of a Verizon Wireless employee. She said it’s what prompted her to come forward and tell her story. The parallels to Amy’s story and Trina’s were unmistakable – the control, the violence and the use of a gun. The only difference is that Trina survived.

Trina said she’s proud of the work Verizon is doing to make a difference with this issue, and she has a message for her co-workers: “If you’re in an abusive relationship, tell someone and get out. If you stay quiet, no one will know. Help is available. And listen to that inner voice that tells you this is not a good situation. Everyone has that voice. We just don’t want to hear what it says sometimes, but you have to listen to it.

“I want people to get out of this before it gets bad” she said, “especially if there are children involved because it affects them. Once the husband or boyfriend becomes abusive, the children will disrespect the mother as well.”

Today, Trina has hope, her faith is strong, and she hasn’t given up on love. She has since remarried to a loving husband, who has taken full responsibility for raising his stepson and is showing the love and care a father should.

And while she can’t forget the events of that awful June day, Trina knows that every day that followed has been a gift.

Her mother feels the same way.

“My mom said she wanted God to show her just one miracle in her lifetime,” Trina said. “She tells me my being here was it.”

 

 

If you need help.jpg

 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic violence, there are many helpful resources for victims and their loved ones. To reach the national hotline for help, dial 800-799-SAFE or if you are a Verizon Wireless customer, dial #HOPE from your cell phone and you will be connected to the hotline. You also can visit the National Network to End Domestic Violence to get information about the safe uses of technology.

 

 

 

Making a Difference for Our Customers & Communities
The Responsibility Blog — Learn how Verizon is using communications technology to connect people to the larger resources of the community—education, health care, accessibility and safety—in ways that make lives better. Visit the Verizon Communications Corporate Responsibility Report. We hope you will share your views with us.

To view vital speeches given by our authors, visit our speeches page.

       
About the Authors

Rose Kirk

V.P. of Global Corporate Citizenship and President of the Verizon Foundation

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Rose leads Verizon's global corporate responsibility initiatives and philanthropic strategy, which focuses on applying Verizon's technology to improve education, healthcare and energy management.

James Gowen

Chief Sustainability Officer/
V.P. of Services Operations

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James oversees Verizon’s supply chain, vehicle fleet, investment recovery, purchasing and materials management and sustainability initiatives.



Jack McArtney

Director of Corporate and Community Responsibility

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Jack promotes digital wellness and online safety. He works with parents, educators, service providers, application developers and industry leaders to foster responsible use of Verizon's mobile and broadband networks.

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