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Survivor’s Tale: Women Share Their Stories About Domestic Abuse


Editor’s Note: This is the last in a series of articles and editorials exploring domestic abuse.

When women escape an abusive relationship, many say the same thing about their abusers: they were charming at first, they were sweet, they lied.

Four domestic abuse victims have come forward to publicly share stories of abuse, survival, redemption and a fight they, and many other silent women, will face the rest of their lives.

At 20 years old, Danielle Silva was working as a teacher’s assistant at a private preschool in Falmouth when she met Alvys Marino, then 34, whose daughter attended the school in 2006.

Mr. Marino, a Cuban immigrant who sought asylum in the United States, has two children with his ex-wife.

Three weeks after meeting, Ms. Silva and Mr. Marino started dating and married in February 2009, Ms. Silva said. At the time of their marriage, she was pregnant with their first child.

“Had I known his history, it would have prevented this situation entirely,” Ms. Silva said.

Although there were red flags, Ms. Silva, now 37, said she was too young to notice.

“I was feeling infatuated, I didn’t understand the signs that he was being controlling or manipulative,” Ms. Silva said.

After they were married, his treatment toward Ms. Silva changed, she said. He would make comments about how he “owned” her and was in charge of her, she said. He began verbally abusing her regularly, seemingly fine one minute and spitting mad the next, over triggers that would change daily.

He made comments about her weight and how she looked, compared her to his ex-wife and insulted her intelligence.

The first time he hit her she was pregnant.

Ms. Silva was getting ready for bed and noticed Mr. Marino had not joined her, a routine they were used to, she said. She found him sitting on the couch and asked when he would be coming to bed. He punched her in the arm and told her never to question him again.

Throughout their marriage, Mr. Marino had several affairs. Three years into their marriage, he hired one of his mistresses as their babysitter.

“He wanted to move on and pretend it didn’t happen but I was feeling like I wanted to be done with the relationship,” Ms. Silva said. “Two weeks later, he was trying to be intimate with me, and I said I had no interest in it and felt disgusted by him and didn’t want to be with him like that. He raped me for the first time.”

Mr. Marino said she was his wife, this was her job and she did not have a choice, Ms. Silva said. The abuse became daily. The systematic abuse and psychological trauma Ms. Silva endured wore her down to the point where she wholeheartedly believed she would one day die at his hand.

“I did my best not to think about it. The most important thing to me was to keep them (children) safe because if something bad were to happen to me, they’d be alone with him,” Ms. Silva said.

Knowing she would never get out of the situation on her own, Ms. Silva set out to convince Mr. Marino to divorce her by saying she was repulsed by him and he would be happier with someone else, she said.

In September of 2020, eight years later, he finally agreed.

“It had to be all on his terms, and I was forbidden from telling anyone until it had gone through,” Ms. Silva said.

The terms stated Mr. Marino would never have to pay child support, custody would be shared, he would have full access to the children at all times and he wanted to remain living with Ms. Silva in the house that she was not allowed to sell. Ms. Silva agreed to the terms to get through the divorce hearing and began her plans to physically escape him.

Ms. Silva convinced Mr. Marino to let her and the children move to Florida, saying it would be much easier for him if they were out of state and he could no longer obsess over where she was and what she was doing.

On June 25, while legally divorced, the two flew to Florida with the children to look at their schools and tour the area where they would be living. One morning, before going to one of the amusement parks, they decided to go for a swim but Mr. Marino thought he forgot to pack his bathing suit and was looking for an alternative, such as basketball shorts. He told Ms. Silva and the children to go to the pool and he would be right down.

“It was taking him a long time to meet us at the hotel pool,” Ms. Silva said. “He came down 20 minutes later, smiling but in an evil way, and he came up to me and told me to come to the edge of the pool.”

He said that while in the hotel room, Mr. Marino went through her phone and saw Ms. Silva had been texting with another man.

She said he ushered them back to the hotel room where he held them hostage for hours, abusing Ms. Silva by punching her in the face, choking her, threatening to kill her and drug the children so he could rape her.

Ms. Silva was eventually able to talk Mr. Marino into letting her use her cellphone again for work purposes.

“I told him I had to finish my work and if it’s not done, my employer will get worried,” Ms. Silva said. “He turned around for 10 seconds and I tried texting 911 when he wasn’t looking. Twelve minutes later, there was a knock at the door and the police were there to rescue us.”

Ms. Silva’s account of the events have been verified by police and court reports obtained from the Orange County Clerk of Courts in Orange County, Florida.

The police separated the children and attempted to interview them, but Mr. Marino consistently yelled in their direction, stated he did not give the police permission. In the report, police noted how fearful the children and Ms. Silva became when Mr. Marino addressed them. Mr. Marino was placed under arrest and charged with interfering with an investigation, false imprisonment, aggravated assault with intent to commit a felony (premeditated rape) and battery (domestic assault), according to court documents.

He was released the next morning on a $5,500 cash bail, wired to Florida by his new wife, the former mistress/babysitter with whom he had child with a year prior, and married two weeks before the incident in Florida.

Ms. Silva filed for an emergency restraining order after returning to Massachusetts, which was granted for one year, and testified against him, she said. Since the restraining order was filed, Mr. Marino has violated it twice.

“The lawyer called me to testify and asked me a bunch of questions and his lawyer cross-examined me and it was a horrific process to go through,” Ms. Silva said. “A lot of victims don’t get help because you’re broken down so much mentally, I don’t know how other people would handle it. The system is really terrible; it deters you from wanting to get help and retraumatizes you constantly.”

Mr. Marino has been charged with assault and battery on a household member, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, oral, vaginal and anal rape and secret sexual surveillance. He was arraigned in July and released on a $2,000 cash bail.

A probable cause hearing is set for November 30 at the Falmouth District Court to determine if the case will be moved to superior court.

The defendant’s name, Alvys Marino, was obtained through police and court documents.

Before Natasha Walton, now 37, began dating her abuser, a local Falmouth resident with generational ties to the town, she was subject to emotional and verbal abuse at the hands of her stepfather.

She grew up in a household where abuse was common, whether she endured it herself or she saw it happen. Many times, alcohol fueled the abuse.

In her mid-20s, she began a relationship with a man who she would date from 2009 until 2011. She did not want to name the man for this article.

In that time frame, the man’s driver’s license was suspended due to drunk driving convictions, and Ms. Walton was responsible for driving him to and from work, and taking care of him, feeling…


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