Ex-wife of Former NFL Player Tells Story of Abuse and Betrayal

Dorothy Newton
Dorothy Newton (A. Larry Ross Communications)

Dorothy Newton, the former wife of three-time Super Bowl champion Nate Newton, wants to bring hope and healing to every woman, who suffers in silence or who knows someone who suffers from physical abuse, through her new book, Silent Cry: The True Story of Abuse and Betrayal of an NFL Wife (Zondervan) that's coming out in October.

"My objective is not to expose juicy details about a famous athlete, but to shine a light on domestic violence in hopes of helping others escape it and find healthy and meaningful lives on the other side," said Dorothy Newton.

Approximately 1 in 4 women has been a victim of severe physical abuse by an intimate partner, according to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and recent cases involving NFL stars Ray Rice and Greg Hardy have thrown a spotlight on the problem.

Although many abused women remain silent because of shame, Dorothy shares unflinchingly about her past and credits "a sovereign God who sees, knows and understands the depths of despair" for making her whole again.

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Domestic violence became a part of her life when she was a child. One of six children, she grew up in poverty in Louisiana. Her stepfather drank and gambled and beat her mother.

After she became the first person in her family to graduate from college, Dorothy moved to Dallas, where she met Nathaniel "Nate" Newton, an offensive lineman for the Cowboys. They began dating and had their first child before they married.

"Sometimes I looked in the mirror and saw my mother staring back at me, but I shrugged it off," she writes. "Our relationship wasn't like that of my mother and stepfather. Nate didn't beat me. I could leave if I wanted to."

After they got married, he soon grew violent. When he was angry, he would shove her and grab her throat. Eventually, he began beating her until she couldn't move. One time, he grabbed her by the hair and dragged her around the house. Another time, when they were arguing over a credit card bill, he hit her in the face over her left eye.

"Whenever he was upset, he abused me," Dorothy writes. "Then he would apologize and want to 'make things right.' I know it sounds crazy, but I honestly thought I deserved the abusive treatment as punishment for my sins."

After a friend of hers told the Cowboys of Nate's issues, he threatened to kill her, pointed a gun at her and put their unborn baby in danger. She had tried many times before, but finally Dorothy convinced Nate that it was time for a divorce.

Although it took time to break free of his influence, she managed, with God's help, to turn her life around. Today, she works as a health-care administrator, recently earned her M.B.A, is a frequent co-host on Daystar Television Network and regularly speaks on the topic of abuse.

"I believe there is a way out, and God will help you find it. He can hear your silent cry," writes Dorothy Newton.

Dorothy talked to her ex-husband, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Dallas Cowboys to get his blessing before writing Silent Cry. Nate Newton, who has since remarried and become a Christian, was interviewed for the book. Sheila Walsh, Bible teacher and best-selling author, wrote the foreword to Silent Cry. The book also contains several appendices with helpful tips for victims of domestic violence and their families and friends.

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