The former wife of the gunman who killed 49 people in an Orlando nightclub in June has described her abusive marriage to Omar Mateen and her unrelenting thoughts about his victims. “Their faces flash in my head every day,” Sitora Yusufiy told Abigail Pesta, in an essay for Marie Claire magazine. “The tragedy has turned my life upside down.”
Yusufiy, who recently remarried, said she and Mateen shared a short and violent marriage, after connecting in 2008 via the social networking site Myspace. Having both been raised practicing Islam, with a tradition “to marry young,” Usufiy said she and Mateen were wed by 2009. The union lasted just five months before she fled.
At first, she said, Mateen was a good listener and the pair made plans to settle down and have a family, but she soon saw another side to him. On one occasion, he started shouting at her in a supermarket, grabbing her arm and digging his fingernails into her veins to force her into submission. On another, he pulled her up by her hair as she dozed in front of the television, before slapping and choking her as punishment for not doing the laundry.
Eventually, her parents came to take her home, sparking a conflict Yusufiy feared would end with her being shot by her volatile partner. Nevertheless, she never imagined he would “do something so extreme” as the mass shooting perpetrated by Mateen at Pulse nightclub on June 12.
“My former husband was the opposite of everything I stand for in life,” she said.
Read the full story at Marie Claire.