Publish something that saves someone



I, Christina Malae, am the victim left unnamed the in Feb. 19 and Nov. 19 articles stemming from trauma I endured from 2008 to 2019 at the hands of my now ex-husband, but resoundingly named in an article published Jan. 5.

You were well within your legal right to name me, of course. But that doesn’t mean you were morally or ethically right to do so.

What you printed was a violation, much like the violations that occurred over and over again in my marriage. You took away my own control of my own story, as the victim, and used it to sell papers.

To be clear, I’m not looking for an apology. What you missed in your article was:

This wasn’t the first time I left. In fact, it was probably the 25th time, if not more. It takes that many attempts, unfortunately, for so many of us.

I spent years building up professional and personal circles outside the home that would help me create a different image of myself than the one my ex-husband kept trying to impose on me behind closed doors.

People who think they “knew” us socially knew nothing about what it was like for me to exist in a prison in my own home. They saw a beautiful family, because the horror lives in the shadows, not the sunlight. 

I decided to finally and permanently leave for myself and my children after an incident in October 2019 that felt identical to hundreds of other incidents that happened before, sometimes daily or weekly.

The incidents I reported weren’t isolated or old. They were simply the ones I had reasonable evidence to support.

When you live with someone who reads your e-mails, deletes data and periodically checks your phone, you don’t end up with much hard data to support the horrific reality of your circumstance. And so much of the psychological abuse is invisible anyway.

Even law enforcement can’t prosecute the emotional abuse that continues long after a woman leaves. It’s not quite a legal violation of a restraining order or no-contact order, but it is a violation.

I planned meticulously in 2019 for more than a month. With the help of a dear friend, my children and I were able to safely leave — with next to nothing — a home we spent 12 years building.

Thanks to support from family and friends, we relocated to a new home at a safe, undisclosed location. We have spent more than a year trying to keep that location safe, with the help of the Oregon Department of Justice’s Address Confidentiality Program and the staff of the Yamhill County District Attorney’s Victim Services Division, where Sarah and Cecilia were incredible.

The road ahead of us has been healing, but it will be a long one, filled with hope and promise as well as pain and sadness. But this is a new chapter unlike anything we could have imagined, and it spurs us on each day. We are finding a peace that we only dreamed about.

The scars we bear don’t heal as quickly as the bruises and broken bones, but they will heal. It will always be a part of our story, but it won’t define us. Our survival will.

If you want to say you printed this article in hopes it would help other women, you should have written it in that vein. You should have written it with some sense of humanity and empathy, perhaps even some sense of hope that the story might inspire someone else to take such a difficult — no, nearly impossible — leap.

Instead, you largely parroted some statements from past articles, full of errors and inaccurately paraphrased statements quickly skimmed from public records. Even more disturbing, you made a point to end each article by effectively telling the reader: P.S. You should care about this because her ex-husband has some notoriety as a novelist in Oregon, not because the violence was heinous and the circumstances unconscionable for any woman to endure.

Domestic violence is a stain across our suburban landscape, impacting women of all walks of life, all socioeconomic backgrounds. And now more than ever, as the COVID pandemic isolates us in our homes with these monsters.

My recommendation to you is to start really seeing the people you write about. Use the stories you write to empower readers to make real change in their lives — change that stops the cycle of violence. Print something that saves someone.

Editor’s Note: The News-Register’s policy is to not name victims in reporting of criminal cases, but to name all adult parties involved in stories about civil cases. The N-R is re-evaluating and reconsidering this policy.


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