2018-11-02 / Front Page

Survivor shares story of courage, silent suffering

Laura Levering
Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office


LeTonya Hudson, Family Advocacy Program administrative assistant, “lights” a candle of hope during the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event at Darling Hall on Oct. 25. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office LeTonya Hudson, Family Advocacy Program administrative assistant, “lights” a candle of hope during the Domestic Violence Awareness Month event at Darling Hall on Oct. 25. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Fort Gordon’s Family Advocacy Program hosted a community awareness and candle lighting event Oct. 25 at Darling Hall in observance of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The program began with FAP staff reading true stories of domestic violence survivors representing each branch of the military followed by lighting candles in memory of each victim. Dorothy Newton, former wife of three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton, served as guest speaker.

Quoting statistics from the Department of Defense Report on Child Abuse and Neglect and Domestic Abuse in the Military for Fiscal Year 2016, Miranda Sikes, FAP administrative clerk, said “there were 1,022 incidents of intimate partner abuse involving 847 victims” during FY2016. And that was just the number reported. Domestic violence often goes unreported, many times due to fear, shame, belief that others will not believe them, or a hope that things will change for the better.


A display of candles representing victims and survivors of domestic violence illuminate a table during Fort Gordon’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month program hosted by the Family Advocacy Program. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office A display of candles representing victims and survivors of domestic violence illuminate a table during Fort Gordon’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month program hosted by the Family Advocacy Program. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Newton fell into all of the above reasons.

Introducing Newton to the audience, LeTonya Hudson, FAP administrative assistant, said that Newton cried tears that nobody saw.

“In front of the world, she smiled and walked in the limelight of fame, but behind closed doors, she suffered betrayal, abuse, and felt so alone,” Hudson said. “Like many of those you know, she chose to endure or accept (her tears) as part of their own story before realizing it was time to change the story.”


Dorothy Newton, former wife of three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton, embraces a member of the audience following Fort Gordon’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month community awareness and candle lighting event held Oct. 25. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Dorothy Newton, former wife of three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton, embraces a member of the audience following Fort Gordon’s Domestic Violence Awareness Month community awareness and candle lighting event held Oct. 25. Laura Levering / Fort Gordon Public Affairs Office Newton’s encounter with abuse began as a child. Her earliest memory is at 6 years old witnessing her mother get beaten repeatedly by her stepfather.

“It seemed like there was always blood ... just the worst nightmare you could ever imagine a child seeing,” Newton said.

The eldest girl of six siblings, Newton often nurtured her mom after beatings then do the same with her siblings.

“It seemed like it always happened in the middle of the night ... I’d get them all back in bed, and then I would get myself in bed and rock myself to sleep,” she recalled.

Newton was in 10th grade when her mother got the courage to leave, but a year later, they moved back and the abuse continued. Despite the rough upbringing, Newton escaped by going to college, often worrying about her mom and siblings who she left behind.

Shortly after graduating college, Newton fell in love with Nate and got pregnant. The two married after giving birth, and the abuse began.

“I could see the signs before we married, but to me, it wasn’t bad enough,” Newton said. “See, as a child, my entire life, that’s all I saw. So verbal abuse just wasn’t bad enough. I could handle it. I blamed myself because I got pregnant ... I blamed myself for everything.”

While Newton was caring for their son and her husband in every way imaginable, Nate was at the height of his career as a professional football player “caught up in a world of interviews, nightclubbing, and womanizing,” she said.

Her friends and family thought she had everything when in reality she was suffering silently.

“They were intoxicated with this notion of this lavish, prestigious, glamorous lifestyle,” Newton said. “Any pain or abuse that I was experiencing was oblivious to them all.”

Things eventually got better, and the couple planned to have a second child. Then the cycle of abuse began again; this time worse. Newton was about five months pregnant when she received a call from Nate demanding she go home. By the tone of his voice, she knew she was in danger.

“I also knew if I didn’t come, then he would come where I was,” Newton recalled.

Sitting at the kitchen table terrified for her life and that of their unborn child, Newton accused her of sharing their personal problems with someone inside the Dallas Cowboys organization. He was so angry that he shoved the table into her stomach and shot a gun in her direction.

“Abuse is real ... I suffered in silence all that time,” she said.

Every time Newton tried talking to him about leaving, he threatened to harm her. She was finally able to convince him to divorce during one of their “good times.” In 2000, Newton walked away from the marriage and lavish lifestyle with hardly anything.

“All I ever wanted was out,” she said. “I could care less about any materialistic possessions.”

Newton went on to raise two very successful young men and is an active member of several organizations that address the topic of abuse. She is a practice administrator for a healthcare organization, has appeared on several TV and radio programs, and is an advocate for abuse victims.

Nate eventually remarried and has turned his life around for the better, although unlike Newton, he shies away from talking about his past. Newton, on the other hand, shares her story publicly and through a book she had published, with Nate’s blessing, she said. Her ultimate prayer is that someday he will share his story and become a voice for abusers.

“He is in a different place, but it is not about him,” Newton said. “It’s about me encouraging you so that when you leave here, you can encourage someone else ... so that they, too, will never give up.”

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