Survivor Recounts Moving Story Of Escape

Photo by Keith Morris. |


Like her mother before her, Holly Crump spent most of her marriage in fear and misery.

As a child, Crump watched her mother beat and belittled. Anything could trigger her father’s anger. A finger in his food provoked an overturned dinner table. Sometimes to make his point, he killed their pets. So Crump and her siblings worked hard keep him calm by being perfect.

As an adult, Crump married a man with a law school degree. But two weeks into their marriage, she got her first beating — as sudden and terrifying as her father’s outbursts. He ordered her not to take fresh vegetables from her parent’s garden, but she insisted that they needed the food. But he screamed and tired to push her down the stairs.


Holly Crump tells her story of survival from domestic violence.

Crump didn’t leave though. Surely if she changed, the beatings would stop, she told a rapt audience on Thursday at the climax of the Time Out Shelter’s annual walk to end domestic violence. All throughout the roomful of domestic violence survivors, women nodded their heads in recognition as Crump told her story.

Crump doesn’t fit the stereotype of a domestic violence victim. She is educated, successful and a life coach respected in the community. She helped start Girls on the Run and works for the Eastern Area Health Education Center.

Many women look up to her. That’s why Crump decided to share her story.

“I’ve come to believe that telling our stories of abuse and survival can break the cycles of unhealthy relationships,” she said. “When we speak our truth and expose our authentic selves, we can heal ourselves, our families and our communities.”

For Crump, the abuse started in the womb, both for herself and her children. Born into an abusive home, she brought her first two children into one as well.

Just like her mother, the abuse started during her pregnancy.

But their stories would diverge eventually.

Now 92, her mother spent 50 years with her abuser. Crump had the courage to leave much sooner.

“She spent 53 years with a man who beat her, belittled her and kept her in a state of anxiety,” Crump said. “She tells me now what she really had wanted her life to be like. It breaks my heart to know that she will leave this world with regrets.”

Crump has her regrets as well.

Two of her children witnessed Crump not only get physically abused, but stay. “I taught my son and daughter that women stay in abusive relationships and that even though they are abused, they will do and say almost anything to make it work.”

At the time, Crump wanted to end the abuse — but not the relationship.

“I didn’t know then that my children would be better off in a broken home rather than living in one that was broken.”

Only with the help of friends and a new job did Crump finally leave. That was 38 years ago.

Today, Crump is married to a “wonderful man” who accepted her and her children 33 years ago.

Even still, Crump said she has little self-esteem and must battle feelings of worthlessness. “Sometimes I wonder if I will ever really play it big and live my life as fully as those who love me know I can.”

Even with her insecurities, Crump came forward, hoping to help others. “It is a preventable disease and I want my legacy to include that what I’ve experienced and learned in this life will transform how men and women interact so children can grow up and grow into a full and purposeful life. I want the world to know that domestic abuse is handed down generation to generation.”

To that end, Crump brought the Girls on the Run program to Payson with the help of her daughter. The program focuses on self-empowerment, giving girls the tools to run a 5K run. This year’s run takes place Nov. 2 at Green Valley Park and 46 girls are signed up. “These girls are 8-14 years old and already they are transforming their beliefs about themselves and the possibilities awaiting them.”

Crump is also working on the Clothesline Project. All around the Methodist Church Thursday night were shirts pinned to clotheslines. Victims of domestic violence and their children had decorated most of the shirts. Eventually, Crump hopes to string the shirts around town hall to air the “dirty laundry and secrets” surrounding domestic violence.

“After a night like tonight, I can’t help but think Payson is about to see a change in how we treat one another,” she said.


H. Wm. Rhea III 3 years, 2 months ago

I know that this type of abuse occurs and I've heard that it's somewhat prevalent in Rim Country, but does the Roundup need to constantly run articles about it? Let's just beat or execute the repeat offenders and get on with life.


Ronald Hamric 3 years, 2 months ago

I concur. It seems that the "system" is totally inept at finding a solution to the issue so we find ourselves in the hamster wheel simply going around in circles without ever getting anywhere. There are a lot of dedicated people who are trying to help those caught in abusive relationships, but not near enough people putting an effort into solving this social dilemma. We can't simply keep putting band-aids on the wounds and ignoring the cause of the injuries.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 2 months ago

Mr. Rhea, perhaps you were unaware of the fact that OCTOBER IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH. Many people worked very hard this month to help raise awareness of domestic violence in the Rim Country.

Did either of you gentlemen know that there have been approximately 134 deaths as a result of domestic violence in the last year, IN ARIZONA ALONE? Or did you know that the youngest victim was a full term fetus, killed when his mother was beaten to death by his father? Or that the oldest was a woman, 88 years old? Or that last year a 4 year old boy died of internal hemorrhaging when his sick 25 year old (not gay, SICK!!) uncle anally raped him? Do either of you know that 1 out of 4 people are victims of domestic violence? And that every single one of us knows at least one person who is a victim of some type of domestic abuse. Did either of you know that domestic violence is about more than fists and black eyes, and broken bones and bruises? It is about mental, psychological, emotional, sexual and physical control. It is about a continued, subtle degradation of a persons self esteem.

The picture on the Roundup's front page of the Candlelight Walk? By the way, yep, the little tubby woman front and center in black top and jeans is me! To answer the unasked question, no, I have never been , nor am I currently, in an abusive situation. I am on the Board of Director's of Time Out; and I am tasked with Fund Raising, as well as with raising Community Awareness. I personally, along with a host of other generous volunteers worked very hard on two big projects this month to help increase awareness of domestic violence.

There have been approximately 15 white crosses situated around town this month. Each cross bears the name, story, age and date of death of a victim of domestic violence. There are only 15 as they are each a symbolic reminder of the victims.

We also conducted our Annual Candlelight walk and Vigil, as a memorial of all of the victims who have lost their lives.

Mr. Rhea, I know that the thought of domestic violence is not pleasant; and I know that the articles in the paper are uncomfortable reminders of things many would prefer were swept under the rug, or left in the dark. However, until and unless each and every one of us takes a stand and is aware, domestic violence will continue to perpetuate.


H. Wm. Rhea III 3 years, 2 months ago

Kim, I am aware of those things, however, I don't want to keep reading about it every week or month either. I'm aware that gas prices have been outrageous for years, but you don't keep reding weekly/monthly stories about that on the Roundup, do you?

I agree with Ronald that the problem needs to be dealt with, however, I don't think the system is going to do what needs to be done. The first time someone abuses their spouse/shackup/whatever, we counsel them. Explain that it's bad to do that and help them find better ways to get over the frustrations in their relationshit <-- not a typo! But the second time, we break their arms and legs. If there is a third time, it's the last time, because we will execute them. That will help get the problem under control. Nothing else will work for repeat offenders, because it's how they deal with life, so life must trade with them in the same way.

it seems that abuse is the go to story sometimes on the Roundup, just like KSL in Salt Lake has to run an Elizabeth Smart story every month. Aren't there better or happier items going on in Rim Country than these?


Kim Chittick 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh my gosh Mr. Rhea!!! You need to go to Disneyland, because you are living in Fantasyland!!!

Of course there are happier and prettier things going on in the Rim Country; however, life is not all sweetness and light, prettiness and rainbows.

By the way...I completely agree with your suggestions on dealing with abusers, but, we are all aware that our justice system is broken, and your ideas would never be permitted. In a perfect world, Joe Arpaio would be in charge of all prisons in the country.

Perhaps you should volunteer for Time Out Mr. Rhea, then perhaps you would see and understand that domestic violence is not all black and white, and cut and dried. You would see that victims are not always the ones that you would believe would be victims of domestic violence. They are your next door neighbor, or the person sitting next to you in church, the woman who checks you in at your Doctors office or the realtor who sold you your house. Victims can be your child's teacher or your lawyers wife.

Years ago, Mr. Rhea, my best friend was a woman who was an executive for an international banking corporation. She was educated, intelligent, strong, beautiful, loving, generous and kind. She married a man who, on the surface, appeared to be a perfect match for her. The first year or so of their marriage was idyllic. Then they got transferred to another state where she knew nobody; and thus began her ordeal. Her husband started the subtle degradation of her self esteem. Before long, he would go out in the evenings, and before he would go, he would lock her in a closet, telling her that it was her fault he had to do that because she "brought it on herself". She truly believed that if only she were a better wife, cook, housekeeper; if only dinner hadn't been 5 minutes late, if only she hadn't smiled at his friend, if only his favorite shirt had not been at the laundry, if only, if only, if only. Fortunately, a friend stopped by their house one evening and finding the front door unlocked and unanswered, he went in, calling for our friends. Eventually, my friend heard him and called out. She was released from the closet and ended up getting a divorce. She was a lucky one...she got out alive.

I understand that you think all of this domestic violence stuff is unpleasant, and you don't want to have to see it on the front page of your newspaper, but, chin up, Mr. Rhea, today is the last day of domestic violence awareness month, and you can go back to your utopian world tomorrow.


H. Wm. Rhea III 3 years, 2 months ago

Kim, you come off sounding like abuse is the only bad thing in the world and that you're stuck on it. I'm glad that awareness month is over, not because I don't want to know it exists but because I don't want to hear about every week. BTW: I donate and shop at Timeout quite often.


Kim Chittick 3 years, 2 months ago

Oh Mr. Rhea, while I am well aware that abuse is not the only bad thing in the world (if you only knew how well I know that!), as I pointed out previously, October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and I am the Community Awareness Chair on the Board, therefore, it is incumbent on me to ensure that the activities of Time Out and its projects to raise awareness receive maximum media coverage. I apologize profusely if your utopian world has been adversely impacted by our nasty mention of domestic violence. And I pray with all that I am that nobody in your world is ever a victim of domestic abuse, as those with your attitude are those that would prefer to keep it hidden and swept under the rug, not wanting to know about it. While I, on the other hand, want to shout about it from the rooftops in an effort to encourage our society to get involved and make it stop.

I would like to personally thank you for donating to and shopping at our Time Out Thrift Store.

Finally, Mr. Rhea. I appreciate your comments and hope that perhaps in some way, I have given you something to think about and be aware of.


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