Aubrie Mindock

Professional skier, author of "When I Saw Heaven" and "Back Up On Skis," Olympic hopeful

Pure Fear

When police question domestic violence victims and the victims stay silent:

September 14, 2016 my Ex boyfriend, Eric, had just brought a gun to my home in an attempted murder/suicide. Only hours before the incident I reported Eric for stalking and violent behavior. I feared Eric and so did my now fiancé, Jason. We all feared Eric. Everyone knew he was dangerous and deadly but we all stayed silent until the situation became deadly. Below are the reasons why.

1. Fear of death: Eric threatened me and my family. I feared that he would actually make good on his threats. That September night my fears were validated. 

2.Fear of not being believed: Abusers are so very good at putting on a front. In public the abuser is the nicest person going. Who would suspect that someone so kind and caring would be abusive behind closed doors? No one! 

3. Retaliation: This is something that happens often. The victim is often forced to be silent in fear of being harmed or the fear of someone he or she loves being harmed or killed. Reputation is also something the victim needs to think about during abuse. Will she or he lose their career? What will happen with finances or their home if they speak? 

4. Bodily harm: I could not open up or talk. I remember clearly after learning about Eric's suicide the detective asking me questions about Eric. Eric had just died and I was still terrified of him. I was scared to death of Eric, even through his death. I wanted to tell the police everything during my questioning but how could I when I still thought of Eric as dangerous, even after he had died? People in a domestic violence are so scared that even upon hearing that they are free and safe they will still not talk. Domestic violence really is scary and deadly. I remember sitting there fearing for my life even after Eric was pronounced dead. Eric had such a strong hold on me that through his death I still felt like I could not talk. 

5. Fear: Like I just stated, I was so scared of Eric that through his death I felt that I could not talk. I was so afraid of him killing me or my family that I could not speak up even upon being informed that he was dead. I had to do whatever it took to keep my family safe from Eric and his wrath. 

Domestic violence is no joke. It is a very serious matter and it is the police and law that keep us safe from such dangerous and deadly people. I was so scared of Eric that I could not speak up even upon hearing about his suicide. Eric had such a strong hold on me that even after the police informed me of his death I still felt the need to stay silenced. No one should ever have to feel this way. 

If you are in a domestic violence situation it is okay to speak up. The police are here to help us. They will help you. Please do not feel like you have to be silenced. There are many ways the law can protect you from violent and dangerous people. If you are being threatened please talk. I know how it is to have so much fear that you feel that you cannot speak but your voice is strong and important. You are worth it and you deserve to have a good life. Talk and speak. Get the help you need. Do not wait because if you do wait it could cost you your life.