A woman has authored an excruciating essay in which she recounts, in detail, learning about her husband raping two women — just a month after their wedding day. In a gripping piece for Vox, Shannon Moroney recalls the moment 10 years ago that her life was turned upside down. She was staying in a hotel in Toronto, on a work trip, when there was a knock at her hotel room door. Expecting her colleagues, she was surprised when she opened the door to see two uniformed police officers. “Are you Jason Staples’ wife?” one of them asked her. Indeed she was. The officers told Shannon that her husband had been involved in a sexual assault and, absent knowing more detailed information, gave her the number for the local police department in her hometown. This was the beginning of her life unraveling. She would learn the details of Jason’s heinous crime, which he’d confessed to investigators. Jason worked at a health food store, and one evening unleashed a horrific attack on two women who came into the store. It began with one of the victim’s being held at knifepoint and raped, and lasted for hours. Jason held the women captive and raped them, ultimately transporting them to Shannon and Jason’s home, where the attack continued to drag out in the basement. At one point, Shannon, away for work, called home to say hi to her husband. Jason chatted with her as though nothing was amiss, and then continued the brutal assault after hanging up the phone.
Shannon describes herself as a collateral victim. Police wouldn’t tell her who the victims were. She felt intense conflict over the love she felt for her husband and the revulsion she experienced at his terrible deed. After Jason was locked up, she was left to deal with the aftermath alone. Friends judged her. She was forced out of her job as a teacher. She lost her income and health insurance. “I was made guilty by association,” she writes. Despite the unimaginable ordeal Shannon endured, she’s managed to mount a spirited comeback in life. It’s worth noting that long before Shannon married Jason, he had served 10 years in prison for — a few months after his 18th birthday — the savage murder of his 38-year-old female roommate. Shannon explains in the essay how she was able to overlook that detail, but it can be neatly summed up by a proverb she recalls having heard: “Forgiveness means letting go of all hope for a better past.” It’s a saying that she actually has now made her life’s work.
Read the complete essay at Vox.