My friend Marti is an extraordinary individual. She is a very petite woman with a lot of spirit and determination. On September 8, 2010, Marti was violently attacked in her home in Prairie Village, Kansas, and left for dead. Police were baffled because she had no enemies of whom they could be suspicious. Marti is strong and did what she could to defend herself. But the attack was brutal. I’ve seen the police photos and I have never seen so many bruises or so much blood coming from one person. Miraculously, she survived despite head trauma, despite the severe cuts in her neck, despite all odds being against her. If you’d like to see an interview with Marti about her attack, you can check out this local news article and video.
I met Marti one evening in kickboxing class at TMA Fitness a few months ago. We randomly ended up sharing a punching bag and started chatting. I told her I was a writer. She told me her unbelievable story. Together, Marti and I, and our friend Joyce, have been working to put into words the details of her ordeal and to create a website that offers advice, ways to connect with experts from various fields and fellow survivors, consolation, and support for those who are trying to recover or help others recover from their own trials. The site also offers statistics and suggestions for ways to avoid becoming a target. Marti’s goal is evident in the motto on the site: “Survive…Connect…Thrive.” You can visit the site here.
From Marti, I have learned so much. It was a fringe benefit that I never expected. I have always harbored a lot of anger towards my controlling ex-boyfriend and felt that the many years I was stuck in his clutches were simply a waste of my life. I was angry that I had so many ill-effects including minor PTSD-like reactions and irrational fears. I went through a lot of counseling to regain my former self but
I remained indignant to the idea that his life got to continue on without any repercussions while I remained stagnant and struggled. It wasn’t fair.
And then I met Marti, a woman who, for all intents and purposes, has every right to and should be filled with anger, indignation and fear. But she simply has none. She never suffered any PTSD symptoms. She was never angry. She never felt sorry for herself. She’s a much stronger person than I am.
While getting to know Marti, I learned a lot of her personal philosophies, her goals and motivations. After being attacked, she simply sought to understand the mentality of her attacker and to learn from the experience. She did not toss about the words “blame,” “anger” or talk about what was “fair.” Through talking with Marti, I have been able to let go of a lot of my own anger and frustrations.
I have completed the process of taking back ownership of myself—mind, body and soul and have found my own sense of peace.
Marti’s story is so profound that the people of 48 Hours have taken an interest in her. They came to Kansas City on numerous occasions and interviewed Marti, her family, doctors, police officers and many other people who were involved and connected to the attack and her recovery. The special about Marti, titled “The Stranger You Know” will air on Saturday, February 2nd, at 7:00 p.m. CST. Here is a link to the teaser on the CBS site.
I wanted to share Marti’s story and how she has impacted my life with you today because I think that the way Marti has helped me is her ultimate goal for the community and anyone who happens across her or her website. She represents the power of positive thinking, the power of hope, of forgiveness, of family and, not just survival, but overcoming obstacles and striding forward an even stronger person than before.