Mary, what’s the bravest thing you’ve ever done? 


Well…as “Smooth Criminal” by MJJ plays in the background I have to say with a large smile:


A moment in October of 1992 changed my world. 


I was fifteen. No one discussed Domestic Violence back then, but I was knee deep in it. 


I decided at that moment it was time to invoke the words of Huey P. Newton, Black Panther Activist: “I’d rather die on my feet than live on my knees.” 


Obviously, I chose the feet.


And like my badass icon, Madonna: I “live to tell”.


I hid the violence at home in the manner that Todd Bridges from “Different Strokes” cashed an NBC paycheck. A sublime masking job I may add; one that will never recover the life of Dana Plato AKA “Kimberly Drummond” or the innocence lost. 


Those who know me, don’t have to ask: 


Why is Michael Jackson Mary’s Hero? 


The moonwalk single-handledly saved my childhood. With that one move, I knew anything was possible.


After I put Pops in jail via the assistance of two very cool female cops who pulled the knife out of my hand (and they had to work HARD on that). 


That 4″ butcher knife left more than an imprint on my long skinny fingers…It left a mark on my soul. 


Without a shadow of a doubt, that is, and will remain, the bravest moment in my life.


For the first time in my life, I had no idea what fear was. I gratefully looked “it” in the eye and said: 
“You’ve been hit by…you’ve been struck by…A smooth criminal…”
(August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)


Just decided it was time for all children of DV to stop hiding…I can usually spot them a mile away. 


~ Mary O’Neal

San Francisco, CA 


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