Samantha Murphy / by Michael Falco

Who is Samantha Murphy?

Samantha Murphy grew up in Torrington, Wyoming until she was twelve years old, when the family moved to Douglas, Wyoming. Her family was poor and they lived in a trailer park. When the family moved to Douglas, her father took a job in a coal mine. She was bullied often and considered herself a band geek in high school. She has been married twice to two abusive husbands whom she was able to escape. She has settled in Cheyenne with her daughter now. She is a single mother at twenty-nine and attends community college on scholarship where she is completing her first degree in paralegal studies after being inspired to become a public defender since watching the documentary, Making a Murderer. 

Excerpt from interview with Samantha Murphy by Whitney Dow, 2018

Murphy: [01:36:08] Sure. I can talk about it. One morning I woke up. I was getting my coffee. My second husband was drunk, like he always was, and he was passed out at the dining room table. So I got my coffee and I sat down at the dining room table and he woke up and he kept repeating that he was the seventh son of the seventh son. And I didn’t understand what he was talking about. So I asked him to explain. And that’s all he was repeating. And so finally I said, “Well, that’s really fascinating. I didn’t know that.” And he says, “No, I don’t think you understand.” And he got up and he started choking me and usually when he would choke me I could like slap his face or like push his face away and he would stop. But he wasn’t stopping this time. So I ended up having to pop him in the face. I got him about here. And that just made him angry. So he threw me down to the ground, came up behind me and started choking me with his forearm. I had nothing to grab on to except his ears. So I grabbed his ear and I just started pulling. He finally let go. And I was so used to the abuse that after that was over I says, “I’m going to go get ready for work.” And so I walked into the bathroom to go and take a shower. He comes in, starts choking me again, slams me up against the wall. And I’m trying not to make any loud noises because my daughter is sleeping in the next room. And so he threw me down onto the ground and then I just remember looking up and him doing this and so I covered my face and he got me about here. So then after that happened I asked if I could finish getting ready for work and he went into the bedroom. After I got finished getting ready I walked into my daughter’s room to get her clothes to wake her up and get her ready. He comes stumbling in, asks if he can get her ready. I told her he couldn’t because he was too drunk and he says, “You never let me do anything with her,” and he started like trying to yank the clothes out of my hand. So she’s hearing the struggle. She kind of is a little bit groggy and wakes up and I rip the pants out of his hand and the button came up and popped him in the mouth, made his lip bleed. So she sees that he’s bleeding and he sees—


Murphy: [01:40:11] Yes. And his lip started bleeding. And my daughter saw this in her groggy state and he saw that she was awake. And so what he did was he walked over to her, sat by the bed, and he said, “Your mom is beating me up. Look what she did to me.” Did this and then just wiped it on her. Just smeared his blood all over her. And she started freaking out and that freaked me out. So I grabbed the clothes I had, grabbed my purse, grabbed her, ran to the car with him running after us. He started beating on the car as I was trying to drive off. I ended up getting her dressed in the parking lot of her daycare, running my fingers through her hair and stuff, told her it’s okay that we didn’t brush her teeth, walked in, dropped her off, and says, “Don’t let him come in. He’s not being very nice today.” And then I went to work.


Q: Has it benefitted you being white?

Murphy: [01:49:20] I feel that I have had some benefits because I know that when you think about other races, take black people for example. When they are in domestic violence situations everybody just kind of shrugs their shoulders, like that’s stereotypical. Like, you know, a black man beats his wife and beats his kids. It’s really hard for them to get help, I think, and for people to listen. But as a white woman coming from not just one but two abusive relationships, I have had the biggest support system ever. People listen to me when I talk because it’s still shocking that white women are getting abused. I think it’s becoming more common but I still feel that people of color still are struggling to get their voices heard. And abuse is abuse. I don’t care what color you are. But I do feel that people of color just aren’t speaking up as much and I think it’s just because they think no one will listen to them because that’s stereotypical. People of color get beat. And I think it’s just really sad. So I think that’s the biggest benefit I’ve had to being white, is people are more willing to listen to me.

Interview Transcript