MildredD.Muhammad is a sincere, thoughtful, and spiritual person. She wanted nothing more than to build a strong family unit in which she would be a good wife and mother.
But when her first husband -- John Allen Muhammad -- “turned” on her, Mildred knew she had to protect herself and her family.
When he emptied out their bank accounts, kidnapped their children, and disappeared, she had to learn to navigate the legal system, all while making sure that he did not find her. She had no money, no job, and she was living in a shelter for abused women when she began her uphill battle to find and her children.
She finally got the children back when a judge in Washington State awarded her full custody. She knew that if she was going to stay alive, she needed to be both strong and smart. Mildred fled with her children from Washington State to Maryland. She honestly did not think that her ex-husband would be able to find out where she was living; she certainly did not believe he was a physical danger to anyone other than herself.
When a sniper began shooting people in the DC metro area, it did not occur to her that the shooter could be her ex-husband, John Allen Muhammad. Like everyone else, she was looking for a white van, barely taking notice of the blue Caprice parked in front of her house.
The chilling manner in which John Muhammad stalked Mildred, while senselessly shooting innocent men, women, and even children places her in a unique position that allows her to address these major issues:
- There isn't an adequate system in place to help the victim who understands his/her partner’s capacity for violence, but who doesn’t know what to do to stop it. Why is that?
- Accountability is important for and major consequences should be applied if the abuser doesn't follow the procedures. Why aren't serious consequences applied to the abuser when it is clear he/she is not following the rules?
- The system should listen to the victims before it is too late, since the victim and the abuser have a language of their own. It is vital to understand that the abusers seem to control themselves after they have punished the victim either by physical assault or death.
Although loopholes are still prevalent, the system is changing and as it changes, hopefully, the survivors, without physical scars, will be included in that process.
After she came through her trauma, she learned that resources are very scarce or not available to survivors of . "This must change"!, she exclaims. Which is why she established the 501(c)3, non-profit organization, After The Trauma, Inc.
is also a large problem within the military community. Given the emphasis on post-traumatic stress disorder among and their spouses, within this community needs to be addressed as well. De-briefing should be available for the soldiers returning from a war-zone AND the families waiting for their return.
This process will allow for a better transition on both parties and the family will not feel they are left alone to handle their issues on their own. should be on-going until the family operates in harmony with each other and the community.
"Keep in mind that it does not matter what educational or financial status, occupation, race, creed, or religion you are, domestic violence affects us all."