Mary Winkler says she's trying to save other women - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Mary Winkler says she's trying to save other women

Reported by Kontji Anthony and Anna Marie Hartman

In her first televised interview, the preacher's wife says she regrets not speaking up for herself in her marriage claiming her husband Matthew abused her.

Winkler says she did the interview with Oprah to save other battered women from the high price she had to pay for living in silent misery.

But Oprah questioned if Winkler was battered or just calculating?

Mary Winkler told Oprah Winfrey her charismatic husband was a different person behind closed doors.

She said the abuse escalated into violent threats.

Mary: "He would do it himself."

Oprah: "He would do what?"

Mary: "Chop me into a million pieces."

Audience members gasped when they saw the white shoes and wig on the witness stand in April. When Winkler told the court her husband sexually abused her and made her dress up for sex against her will.

Mary: "I would say 'no, don't like that let's not' and he'd say 'okay,' but he would just get going and that was just it."

She insisted she was not trying to hide her involvement in a money scam. She said her husband was caught in it too and monitored her every move.

Oprah: "So you're saying that money, that scam, the loss of that money had nothing to do with you shooting him."

Mary: "Oh no."

But Winkler couldn't seem to explain how the shotgun ended up in her hands.

Mary: "There's a lot of things that don't make sense to me."

Oprah :Well imagine, it doesn't make sense to me either.

Winkler told Oprah she still loves her husband and thinks she should have her children back.

Oprah: "Why do you think you should have your children back?"

Mary: "I'm their mother."

Oprah: "You killed their father."

Mary: "I did not want any of this to happen."

Winkler told Oprah her husband turned abusive about two or three months into her marriage.

Winkler says she hopes her interview on national television will help other women who feel trapped in violent relationships.

Domestic violence experts applaud her for that but they hope her exclusive interview doesn't send the wrong message.

Winkler testified that she was the victim of abuse. She says her husband Matthew forced her to engage in sexual acts she wasn't comfortable with.

Domestic abuse experts don't condone how Mary Winkler chose to escape from her problems at home but they hope her appearance on national television will shed light on how to get help to end the cycle of abuse.

"Its so hush hush and we don't hear about it until a Mary Winkler case comes out or until someone is killed or the victim is killed, that's when we hear about it. But we know this is taking place every day," says Domestic Abuse Counselor Norman Miller.

Domestic Abuse Counselor Carmella Guy adds, "Putting it out there more often is best not only for the victim but also the perpetrator but you're also dealing with denial and secrets and embarrassment."

Experts hope that the publicity the Winkler case has received doesn't send the message to other victims that this can't happen to me.

But they do say that Winkler's testimony and the comments she made to Oprah Winfrey exhibit all the classic signs of a victim of abuse.

They just hope the public is aware of the thousands of abuse victims that aren't given the amount of media attention that the Winkler has received.

If you or someone you know needs help getting out of an abusive relationship call the Memphis YWCA Abused Women's Services. The hotline number is 901-725-4277.

If you think you could be or are violent call the Innovative Counseling and Consulting hotline at 901-276-0220.

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