Wendy Maldonado is a brave American hero for killing her husband Aaron Maldonado, which is the only reason she’s alive today after enduring 20 years of violent physical, sexual and mental torture at his sadistic, serial killer glorifying hands. On May 1, 2005, Wendy finally ‘snapped’ (i.e. she came to the realization that she would soon be killed at the rate things were going at home) and with the help of her then 16 year old son Randy, together they smashed a sleeping Aaron Maldonado’s skull in with a hatchet and a hammer.
Undoubtedly tragic, unfortunate and traumatic, but absolutely necessary fucking riddance.
Wendy’s story is a heart-breaking and FAR too common reality for so many women enduring domestic violence, which is a terrifying, isolating existence for 1 in every 4 women in so-called “civilized” western society. Approximately 3 women EACH DAY are killed by their husbands or boyfriends. 33% of reported female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners, which means the number is higher taking into account unreported cases (source). The stats of this femicide pale in comparison to other parts of the world with slightly different cultural scripts (such as China and India’s female gendercide), but misogyny is (one of) the common, contagious diseass that grows, spreads and flourishes from the infected body of kyriarchies.
In thinking about how the hell we can collectively combat domestic violence that so many women are trapped, suffered, and die from, there is no space for the moral stance of “violence is wrong”; it just doesn’t apply because quite simply, The Law largely fails abused women. So in these kind of circumstances, we have no choice BUT to kill or be killed. As Wendy described in the 2007 HBO documentary, One Minute to Nine, when you’re stuck in a bear trap, you have to gnaw your leg off to escape or else wait to die. The riveting, deeply-disturbing film was originally more aptly titled Every Fucking Day of My Life, because when Wendy called 911 to report the murder, the operator asked if her husband had tried to hurt her, to which she replied “Every fucking day of my life.” I’ve posted the film in its entirety below.
There was no question in anyone’s mind that Wendy suffered from Battered Woman Syndrome (BWS) and killed her husband in self-defense. That BWS is even up for DEBATE as a valid reason for women to kill their abusers and not be punished is hard evidence that misogyny is socially acceptable. The message is clear: men have free reign to torture and kill their wives and girlfriends. This is no surprise given that most laws are made by men so blinded by privilege and entitlement that they cannot fathom seeing life from any other perspective but their own.
Wendy’s documented injuries over the years were staggering – knocked out teeth, broken bones, concussions, police visits to the home, numerous punch holes throughout the walls of the family home, and much more. During the trial, even the judge sympathized with Wendy, but “his hands were tied” and he had to give her the required 10-year prison sentence. Her earliest release date is March 7, 2016. Her son Randy got 6 years and is now free (woooohooo!!!).
Why are judges’ “hands tied”? We’re talking about MAN-MADE laws, surely they only take a moment’s verbalization by “the right person(s)” to override. Fuck red tape and mind-numbing, time & energy wasting “bureaucratic processes”, it doesn’t have to be so god damn complicated! The grim reality is that the colonist culture is a far cry from a free or democratic state. If you’re the “right person” with enough money, anything is possible. It maddens me to no end how rigid and forever short-sighted laws are, how they ruin so many lives, cause so much needless suffering, and how farcical the whole side show is when zooming out and looking at it from a cultural perspective and the colonist hell we’re all trapped in — “post-colonial” my ass. Decolonization is not a metaphor and there is MUCH work to be done.
Cultural atrocity aside, this story has a happy ending – Wendy is ALIVE, is visited regularly in prison by loved ones, and will be reunited with her family in 4 years. Her courageous actions have paved the way for her and her four sons to live out the rest of their lives in peace and safety. So long as Wendy’s brother-in-law doesn’t go after her, which I worry about because (as evident in the film), he was enraged in court and wanted to see her severely punished. When it comes to violence, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I have little doubt that her brother-in-law is as much an abusive asshole as Aaron was. I also have no doubt that these brothers probably grew up in a very dysfunctional and abusive and/or neglected family home. This is how this shit plays out, violence is a generational sickness, and here in the west, it’s embedded in the profoundly sick colonist culture whose whole existence is dependent on violence.
But for now, Wendy and her kids are safe, and she’s an inspiration to all women to take matters into our own hands when our backs are to the wall, boots are on our throats, and no other options exist. Hats off to you Wendy, you are the wind beneath my feminist wings! May other women trapped in violent relationships find the strength to follow in your foot steps and take back their lives by whatever means necessary, until we as a society can put an end to this epidemic once and for all!
The HBO documentary Every Fucking Day of My Life: