Victim speaking out after partner charged with attempted murder
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 04/01/2016 (2586 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Shaylene Wilson says it’s a miracle she’s alive. And now the young Winnipeg woman plans to use her second chance to try and help other victims of domestic abuse escape before it’s too late.
Wilson, 22, suffered serious injuries on New Year’s Eve after police say she was pulled into a vehicle that was then deliberately smashed into a parked semi-trailer.
Christopher Rutherford, 31, is in custody facing several charges including kidnapping, attempted murder and breach of a court order. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.
“You see things and think that will never be me, I’d never let it get that bad,” Wilson told the Free Press on Monday as she recuperated at home from a variety of cuts, scrapes and whiplash. “But it’s amazing I can even walk. That was intent to kill. That was no accident.”
Wilson met Rutherford about eight months ago on Tinder, a popular social media app used for dating. She said her relationship with the burly bodybuilder went well at first, but took a violent turn this past fall.
Rutherford was first arrested on Nov. 8 and charged with four prior assaults against Wilson, which allegedly occurred on Sept. 1, Oct. 24, Oct. 30 and Nov. 8. It was only after the final incident that Wilson called for help. Rutherford was also charged with resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer on that day.
Rutherford spent five nights in custody until he was released on bail. One of the conditions was to have no contact with Wilson.
“We didn’t see each other for a couple weeks after. But by the end of November, we were pretty much back living together,” Wilson said Monday.
She now regrets allowing the accused back into her life — especially after helping her own mother escape an abusive relationship years earlier.
Wilson said things had gone smoothly through the month of December, and the couple decided to head to a bar on Portage Avenue last Thursday night to ring in the new year.
“We were having a fun time,” said Wilson, noting her phone is filled with pictures of them celebrating that night. But things took a turn just after midnight. An argument erupted, and the situation turned violent.
“It escalated very quickly,” she said.
Wilson said she was repeatedly threatened with death and pulled into the vehicle against her will. She described having her hair pulled, being punched and having her face smashed against the window.
Then came the crash near Arlington Street and St. Matthews Avenue. Wilson was trapped in her vehicle for about 20 minutes and had to be freed by emergency workers using the Jaws of Life. Police say the driver deliberately ran the vehicle sideways into the semi to maximize damage on the passenger side where Wilson sat.
“I remember repeatedly saying how I could move my fingers and toes, that I wasn’t paralyzed,” Wilson recalled Monday. “I kept repeating that he tried to kill me, he tried to kill me. I was crying and asking for my mother and sister.”
The accused fled the scene but was arrested at a residence later that day. Rutherford remains in custody without bail.
Wilson believes the truth about the incident would have gone with her to the grave had she not survived. But she has a voice — not only to tell police what happened, but to try and inspire other women who may be in similar situations.
This attack came on the heels of a pair of recent domestic-homicides in Winnipeg in which the female victims had sought judicial protection against their alleged killers.
Wilson took to social media this weekend, acknowledging her own role in the relationship.
“I was the stupid girl who took her (alleged) abuser back. Which very well good have ended my life,” Wilson wrote on her Facebook page following her release from hospital.
Winnipeg police called the incident “unique, extreme and frightening.” Const. Jason Michalyshen said incidents of domestic violence aren’t usually made public even though they’re an all-too-common occurrence.
“It’s a topic that’s a big part of the daily operations of the Winnipeg Police Service,” he said. Police decided to report the case through the media to encourage the public to talk about “healthy relationships.”
Wilson acknowledged there are plenty of resources made available for victims of domestic violence but that accepting help can be difficult.
“Take the help that is given to you,” she said Monday.
“I want to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers. Physically I’m a lot better than I should be, if you know me I’m not religious but I know I had someone looking over me. I should not be here. I’m very sore, but I will be OK. Emotionally will definitely take longer to mend but I have a wonderful family beside me,” Wilson said. “I’m alive, I’m still a mother, still a sister and still a daughter. I’m not sure why I’m still here but I hope in some way this ends up being a positive. Obviously not in my life but it could help save others. It doesn’t matter what they blame, it doesn’t matter how sorry they say they are. This isn’t something I would have ever expected, and things can happen so quickly.”
Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.
Updated on Monday, January 4, 2016 8:04 PM CST: Adds, replaces photos