• U.S.

Orlando Shooter’s Ex-Wife Says Victims’ Faces ‘Flash in My Head Every Day’

2 minute read

The ex-wife of the gunman who killed 49 people inside an Orlando nightclub said she is haunted by the June massacre and sees the faces of all his victims every day.

Sitora Yusufiy wrote an essay for Marie Claire magazine, detailing her abusive and short-lived relationship with Omar Mateen and the pain she has felt since being associated with the mass shooting.

“My heart is broken for the victims, and their families and friends. Their faces flash in my head every day,” she wrote. “The tragedy has turned my life upside down.”

Yusufiy, who now lives in Colorado with her fiancé, said she and Mateen married in 2009 after meeting through the social networking site, Myspace. She fled from him after five months of marriage because he was violent.

In one instance, Yusufiy said her ex-husband yanked her up by the hair while she was asleep in front of the TV, slapped her and choked her because she had not done the laundry.

“Even after what I went through, I never imagined he would do something so extreme,” she wrote. “I never imagined he would do something so unthinkable as he did in Orlando.”

“In time, perhaps I will find some peace,” Yusufiy added. “My former husband was the opposite of everything I stand for in life.”

More Must-Reads From TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com