Mary Murphy: Survivor

[Trigger warning.]

Mary Murphy, one of the judges on So You Think You Can Dance and herself a world-renowned ballroom dancer and choreographer, is featured on the cover of US Weekly this week, telling for the first time her story of having survived a marriage in which she was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused:
Mary Murphy opens up for the first time ever about surviving a nine-year abusive relationship, during which she was repeatedly raped and beaten and suffered a miscarriage.

She tells Us Weekly her ex-husband - whose name is being withheld but who says Murphy's claims are "flat-out lies" - raped her for the first time three months after they wed.

"We'd had another jealous fight, screaming, crashing over furniture, and he said, 'I want to have sex,'" Murphy, 51, tells Us Weekly. "I was like, 'Are you kidding me?! We're fighting here!' He said, 'You're my wife, and you'll do what I tell you!' I pulled out a kitchen knife and screamed, 'You're going to have to stab me, because I'm not having sex with you!' He knocked it out of my hands, held me down and raped me."

Soon, she says, a pattern developed: "A fight, then rape, then presents: a dress, a diamond bracelet, earrings. In the first year or two, I'd fight back, but eventually, I'd just lie there. Get it over with, I thought. It'll be quick anyway."

For years, "I'd have black eyes and bruises," she tells Us Weekly. "But I never called the police or went to the hospital. I didn't want anybody to know."

She says she got pregnant around 1982. "But in my fourth month, I miscarried," she tells Us Weekly. "My husband was disgusted, saying I murdered our baby, because I'd done some light dancing the night before. I was sinking deeper and deeper at that point, just reeling into despair."
Murphy eventually saved up enough money teaching dance to leave and file for divorce.

Mary's always been one of my favorite things about SYTYCD. I love her infectious joy, her enthusiastic screaming, her loud laugh, her eminent willingness to be overwhelmed and blub when a dancer or performance moves her. Something about her always felt familiar to me, something about the way her joyfulness was never frivolous. And now I know why.

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