Editor’s Note: Dorothy Newton was married to Dallas Cowboy football superstar Nate Newton, who abused and threatened her until Dorothy found that the only way she would be truly rescued was through a relationship with Christ. A gripping story throughout, Silent Cry is a testament to Dorothy’s strength, will to live, and the peace that comes with hope in the God who sees and hears your tears — even when no one else does.
How has domestic abuse been a part of your life?
Sadly, I grew up thinking domestic abuse was a part of our family norm. It’s no surprise I ended up married to someone who abused me. It’s fairly common to see abuse move through the generations in families.
Your new book, Silent Cry, shares your very personal journey of leaving an abusive marriage. Why did you decide to tell your story?
There are a few very special people in my community who encouraged me to step out and write Silent Cry. Now that it’s complete, I hope the book challenges others to help those who are in an abusive situations and I pray it inspires the victims of abuse never to give up. God is there for them and there is a way out.
Did you feel any support from the outsiders you confided in?
Support was not easy to find in my particular circumstance. My husband, Nate Newton, was a famous NFL football player. I lived in his community and was surrounded by those who needed him to succeed. Trust does not come easy, not for a victim of abuse. But I always trusted God and knew He would show me what to do and who I could depend on.
Do you think there is a stigma around domestic violence victims?
Yes, I do. Many times, victims of abuse are perceived as weak and unable to walk away. The reality is not that simple. There are many variables, such as children along with financial issues and housing, which come into play when you’re planning an exit strategy.
What do you have to say to the woman who feels helpless and trapped in an abusive relationship?
I would first tell her that God has not deserted her. He is there and will provide escape. Next, I would advise her to reach out to someone she trusts and begin the task of formulating an exit plan. There are many resources out there, filled with people who are willing to help.
Excerpt of Silent Cry
One night, I told Nate I was leaving him. I just couldn’t live through this again. Whatever change he had made was totally erased, and I didn’t have the strength to live with him anymore. This made him furious. He told me if I tried to leave him, he would kill me. The look in his eyes was so severe. The hatred and disdain were palpable. I believed him. I believed he would kill me if I tried to go. I was frightened. It felt like ice water was running through my veins.
I was desperate now. I cried out to God and prayed for protection and strength. I prayed for a way of escape. I asked God to protect Tré and help him to forget the horrible things he’d heard and seen. I meditated on Scripture as if my life depended on it. My prayers from Psalm 23 went something like this:
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
God, I do want. I want to be free. I want to be safe. I am Your child. You promised to protect me.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
Yes, Lord. Please take me to green pastures. Please bring me to still, peaceful waters.
He restoreth my soul.
My soul is weary, God. My spirit is alive and filled with You, but my flesh is totally spent, and my soul cries out in despair. Deliver me, God. Restore my soul.
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
God, I need you to show me the path. I know there is a path of righteousness for me even in this situation. Lead me there. I’ll go.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.
But I am afraid. I am so afraid of this evil. I feel as though I am right in the center of death’s dark, shadowed valley. How do I walk through it?
For Thou art with me; Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
Yes. You are with me. When Nate hits me, he’s hitting You. You are with me every moment, with every breath. You see it all. You hear it all. You care for me. You comfort me. You must have a plan for me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
Is Nate my enemy, Lord? Or is Nate tormented and controlled by my real enemy? Your table is my provision, even when I am in captivity and surrounded by betrayal, lies, deceit, violence, anger, and abuse. Your table is my protection, keeping me safe, keeping me alive so I can care for Tré and protect my unborn child.
Thou anointest my head with oil.
God, I need Your healing. My mind needs to be healed. It is broken and bruised and weary and sad. Please let Your oil of gladness flow over me. Let Your healing balm flow. Anoint my head, Lord Jesus; anoint my head.
My cup runneth over.
Yes, You have given me much to be thankful for. My cup runneth over with love for Tré and the baby who is not yet even born. My cup runneth over with the goodness of friends who care for me. My cup runneth over with Your love. God, I love You. God, how I need You.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
Your goodness overwhelms me. Your mercy is never-ending. Help me to understand. Help me to see, Lord. Let me feel Your goodness and mercy, and grant many days to my life.
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
Yes, Lord. I will dwell with You forever and ever. I will never leave You. I will never forsake You. I will always call on Your name. You are my hiding place. You are my shield and my deliverer. You are my song. You are my strong tower. You are my refuge.
I meditated on this passage daily and took strength from its words. I poured out my heart to God and gave Him all my sorrow and grief, doubt and fear.
I fellowshipped with God in my suffering, and I found comfort in His presence and in His care.
I never once blamed God for what I was going through. I never once felt like He wasn’t protecting me. I felt like I had placed myself in this situation. Over and over again, I had made bad choices, and the consequences were pain, suffering, and abuse.
Each day, I asked for God’s protection over my life, over Tré, and over our baby. My energy was totally spent. I knew if my situation was going to change, it would absolutely take God’s intervention.
Excerpted with permission from Silent Cry: The True Story Of Abuse And Betrayal Of An NFL Wife by Dorothy Newton, copyright Zondervan.
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The issue of domestic abuse is one that is often swept under the rug, hidden, and only talked about in hushed tones, even in Christian circles. Do you know someone who needs to hear Dorothy’s story? Do you need to? Today, let’s stop and pray throughout the day for our sisters who may be hiding a terrifying and dangerous secret that they would find support and safely escape. Come join the conversation on our blog. We want to hear from you about how you can be that support for a friend in need. ~ Faith.Full