3 years ago this past weekend, the issue of mental health
and wrestling came up again in the most tragic, horrifying
manner possible; this time....through how victims of
domestic violence are affected, and the ultimate consequence
of abuse as Chuck Williams (aka Rockin Rebel) murdered his
wife Stephanie Burtnett (Williams) What I write, sadly,
stands just as true those years later.
If what is written about those victimized applies to anyone
reading this or are a friend or family member of someone in
such a situation, please take the steps necessary.
Here is the AS I SEE IT from back then:
Domestic violence is defined by the National Domestic
Violence Hotline as "a pattern of behaviors used by one
partner to maintain power and control over another partner
in an intimate relationship." It involves actions where one
partner engages in behaviors that harm (both physical land
emotionally), that cause fear for self and children and
cause the victim to behave in ways they do not want.
National Domestic Violence Hotline defines it as "physical
violence, sexual violence, threats and intimidation,
emotional abuse and economic deprivation (or dependency)" .
At any one time, multiple forms of this can be occurring at
the same time.
For anyone who doesn't know where I'm leading, here it is:
West Goshen Police Department officially issued a statement
this past Saturday on the murder-suicide officially
confirming the names of former ECW wrestler Chuck Williams
(Rockin' Rebel) and Stephanie Burtnett (Williams).
As was reported Friday, first by NBC 10 in Philadelphia,
Williams and wife Stephanie Burtnett (Williams) were found
dead in their home at 302 Five Point Road, West Goshen, PA,
after police responded to the home following the report of a
shooting. Their bodies were found by family members in the
living room, with the Police report dated 6:37 am Friday. In
the statement, West Goshen Police determined that the
initial indications are that Williams murdered his wife,
then committed suicide.
What social media had depicted of the family's lives could
not possibly have been different than the apparent reality.
Images on social media from Williams, neighbors, and friends
showed a happy family.
But there were eerie and cryptic mentions on social media
that seem (admittedly with 20-20 hindsight) to show
something quite different. Only 72 hours before the killing,
Williams posted the following :
"Days of spending time with the ones you love and you
love them are far and few, make them count".
The day before, he had posted the following: "A little
love goes a long way"
But if one looked at the same social media of Stephanie
Burtnett (Williams), one would never know anything was wrong
in the least. There were depictions of Girl Scout cookie
sales, watching the Eagles win the Super Bowl as a family,
and trips out as a family.
But her mother gave a fairly involved and angry depiction on
her Facebook page after the killing, suggesting the couple's
relationship was anything but that, stating Williams "had
tortured my Stephanie for 30 years".
There were those within wrestling who seemed in denial that
Williams could have committed the act. They knew a very
different person, one who had helped them professionally in
various ways. So, much as many people continue to do to this
day with the Benoit family tragedy insisting others must
have been to blame, they couldn't reconcile the person they
knew with the one who existed in reality, so were actually
doing remembrance posts for Chuck Williams, rather than the
person who deserves it, Stephanie.
There also have been been mentions online that suggest that
Stephanie spoke to them as best she could, showed fear
regarding the relationship.
Here are some realities about domestic violence:
"On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically
abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During
one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and
*1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been victims of [some form
of] physical violence by an intimate partner within their
*1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe
physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
*1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have been stalked by an
intimate partner during their lifetime to the point in which
they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone
close to them would be harmed or killed.
*On a typical day, there are more than 20,000 phone calls
placed to domestic violence hotlines nationwide.
*The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation
increases the risk of homicide by 500%.
*Intimate partner violence accounts for 15% of all violent
*Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by
an intimate partner.
*19% of domestic violence involves a weapon.
*Domestic victimization is correlated with a higher rate of
depression and suicidal behavior.
*Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners
receive medical care for their injuries."
Please understand that anyone who is a victim of domestic
violence may feel the need to minimize the situation, even
to engage in denial to the public, and show the reality they
had hoped for. They do it for themselves. They do it for
their children. They do it for their loved ones not aware of
reality, or to minimize how bad things are.
If anyone reading this blog knows of someone in such a
situation, please consider these actions, again from the
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
"ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THEY ARE IN A VERY DIFFICULT AND SCARY
SITUATION, BE SUPPORTIVE AND LISTEN.
Let them know that the abuse is not their fault. Reassure
them that they are not alone and that there is help and
support out there. It may be difficult for them to talk
about the abuse. Let them know that you are available to
help whenever they may need it. What they need most is
someone who will believe and listen.
Respect your friend or family member’s decisions. There are
many reasons why victims stay in abusive relationships. They
may leave and return to the relationship many times. Do not
criticize their decisions or try to guilt them. They will
need your support even more during those times.
IF THEY END THE RELATIONSHIP, CONTINUE TO BE SUPPORTIVE OF
Even though the relationship was abusive, your friend or
family member may still feel sad and lonely once it is over.
They will need time to mourn the loss of the relationship
and will especially need your support at that time.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO PARTICIPATE IN ACTIVITIES OUTSIDE OF THE
RELATIONSHIP WITH FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
Support is critical and the more they feel supported by
people who care for them, the easier it will be for them to
take the steps necessary to get and stay safe away from
their abusive partner. Remember that you can call the
hotline to find local support groups and information on
HELP THEM DEVELOP A SAFETY PLAN.
Check out our information on creating a safety plan for
wherever they are in their relationship — whether they're
choosing to stay, preparing to leave, or have already left.
ENCOURAGE THEM TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO CAN PROVIDE HELP AND
Find a local domestic violence agency that provides
counseling or support groups. Call us at 1-800-799-SAFE
(7233) to get a referral to one of these programs near you.
Offer to go with them. If they have to go to the police,
court or lawyer’s office, offer to go along for moral
REMEMBER THAT YOU CANNOT “RESCUE” THEM.
Although it is difficult to see someone you care about get
hurt, ultimately they are the one who has to make the
decisions about what they want to do. It’s important for you
to support them no matter what they decide, and help them
find a way to safety and peace."
If you are someone living in an abusive situation or a
friend/family member of someone that is, please take what is
written above seriously.