Christy Martin is a terror in the boxing ring with 49 victories and only five losses. Hearing this tough woman is the victim of domestic abuse is as stunning as her 31 knockouts.
Her husband, Jim Martin, “told me for 20 years he would kill me if I ever left,” she said in a soft West Virginia twang.
Last November she told him she was leaving him for a woman. Less than a week later, on Nov. 23, he tried to carry his threat out in their Florida home.
Christy, 42, was attacked and tortured for an hour. She was stabbed four times, shot once with her pink Glock, and pistol-whipped, Christy said. As she begged him to call for help, he mocked her, holding phones and saying they wouldn’t work.
Sprawled on the floor, “I prayed: Please God, don’t let me die. That’s when I heard the shower.”
Her 66-year-old husband was showering and coloring his hair. She believes he thought she was dead and was preparing to clean up and call police to say he’d “discovered” her body.
She scraped herself off the floor and grabbed keys to her yellow Corvette to flee. But they were the wrong keys. Bloody but not yet defeated, she rushed into the street to flag a car down to take her to the hospital nearest to their Apopka, Fla., home.
Jim Martin’s trial on charges of attempted murder and assault is scheduled for Oct. 3 in Orlando. They are in the process of getting a divorce.
Christy has moved to Las Vegas with her lover and business manager Sherry Lusk and is preparing for a June 4 fight against Dakota Stone. It will be her first fight since the attack and she’s training hard for it.
But in between training sessions, once or twice a week, she goes to Safe Nest for counseling. She’s also agreed to help the nonprofit by telling her story to draw attention to domestic violence. “There’s somebody out there to help and sometimes it’s not your family you can go to.”
Safe Nest, established in 1977, offers a multitude of services, everything from a hot line at 1-800-486-7282, to 24-hour shelters, to counseling for victims, batterers and children. An offer by a celebrity athlete to help a nonprofit by raising both awareness and money is a gift without price.
“I want to do what I can to help someone else not be in this situation,” said the pretty-in-pink blonde. “If this can happen to me, what about those little shy women?”
Despite the violence of the attack on her, Christy said most of the abuse she suffered throughout her marriage was mental. Her husband and trainer insisted on controlling her, using mind games, cocaine addiction, even sexual abuse and threats to expose her lesbian relationship in high school with Sherry.
She described Jim Martin as a con man, someone who could convince you that the ketchup bottle was blue, even though you saw it was red. He used drugs to control her, she said, alleging he supplied cocaine to her for three years.
Over her 21 years as a boxer, she said she earned about $4.5 million. She wrote the checks, but he determined how the money should be spent. “I was his cash cow, I was like an ATM.”
Christy said her June 4 fight, which will be streamed live on TopRank.com, is an opportunity for her to show that “this is the new improved version of Christy and she didn’t need Jim all along.”
Safe Nest is lucky to have Christy Martin fighting on its side, getting two messages out. One is that domestic violence victims can be tough as nails on the outside, and still vulnerable to a controlling, abusive spouse. The other is that help is a call away.
Jane Ann Morrison’s column appears Monday, Thursday and . Email her at Jane@reviewjournal.com or call her at (702) 383-0275. She also blogs at lvrj.com/blogs/Morrison