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Ex-Wife of D.C. Sniper Works to Help Other Victims of Abuse

"It was a domestic violence child custody issue and innocent people died because of it," said Muhammad.
WASHINGTON, D.C. - "I was so scared of John that I had to work under the radar so he couldn't find me and kill me if I was able to find my children so that's why I was scared silent," said Mildred Muhammad.

Mildred Muhammad is the former wife of the infamous “D.C. Sniper,” who terrified local communities in 2002 when he shot and killed 10 people. She says her husband, John Allenn Muhammad, abused her and even kidnapped her children for 18 months. It was a bitter custody battle that she says drove John to his breaking point.

"It was a domestic violence child custody issue and innocent people died because of it," said Muhammad.

But today, years after the shootings and the abuse, Mildred considers herself a survivor. She has dedicated much of her life towards helping other victims of domestic abuse.

"Everywhere I go someone is trying to reach out to me for help and that's what I try to do, just help them to find their way,” said Muhammad.

One way Mildred helps victims is by educating herself about the legal resources available for survivors of abuse. She attends seminars hosted by the National Center for Victims of Crime to learn how survivors can get justice through civil lawsuits.

"When someone is put in jail, they're said to be paying their debt to society,” said Jeff Dion, Deputy Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime. “In the civil system, it's about paying their debt to the victim and holding perpetrators and other responsible parties directly accountable to the victim for the harm that they caused."

The organization connects people affected by crimes to attorneys who are specially trained to work with them. Keith Franz is one of those attorneys.

"Representing people who have been through terrible trauma often,” said Franz, who works in Maryland. “And helping them to get through the criminal process and also to support them through civil litigation."

It is a cause that's only recently come to the forefront of the legal justice system.

"Victim's rights movement only began in the last 20 years or so,” said Franz. “Before that, victims really had very little access to the courts."

Mildred has felt the pain of feeling abandoned.

"Unfortunately in my case I wasn't recognized as a victim,” said Muhammad. “So I had to learn and do everything myself."

That is why she is now working harder than ever to make sure other victims of crime do not have to seek justice and help alone.

To learn more about the National Center for Victims of Crime, visit: http://www.victimsofcrime.org/

To learn more about Mildred Muhammad's story go to: http://www.mildredmuhammad.com/



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