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Writing Samples

What if He had not punched me?  By Karen Dunning

May 29, 2020

I wonder…

Would I still be married to him?

Would I have taken on a lover on my trip to Hawaii?

Would my heart still be healthy?

Would my eyes sparkle when I thought of him?

Would I have invited his touch instead of recoiled?

Would I have had my baby?

Would I have had grandchildren?

Would I still have the company I built?

Would I still work at IBM?

I’ll never know for sure. 

What I know for sure…

I am safe now

I am free now

I am grateful now

I am healed now

I am whole now.

I am love, I am loving, I am loved.

My Tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg

By Karen Dunning

I honor the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and cherish all she has done for the United States and the world. She was my role model and mentor in her personal and professional life. Her light shines brightly from her new station in heaven.

No one will be able to replace her contributions, intellect, thoughtfulness and foresight. I pray her dying wish will be granted and all citizens will take a few months to truly honor and understand her legacy.

She stood up for all US citizens’ right to privacy. Without that right we are lost as a people. If our collective right to privacy is revoked at the Supreme Court level the United States has a dark future and our generation will be to blame.

For the sake of the future of the United States let’s collaborate to expand all citizens’ rights and guarantee equality for all citizens in honor of the Notorious RGB, may she Rest In Peace.

The Night God Saved My Life

by Karen Dunning, Lincoln, NE. Lions Gate Apartment

April 11, 1991


The man I thought was my boyfriend had told me his wife left and divorced him in 1988. Millions of women are traumatized annually. Let’s work together as a society to transform domestic violence to domestic bliss.

Lincoln Police Department Public Incident Reports are available to the public.  My public copy Incident Report is Case 91-032330. I have been working to get my entire internal case file, but am told I have to sue to get it.

I called multiple attorneys in Lincoln and none of them can help because “there is no case to attach a subpoena to.” I have lots of questions about why I wasn’t notified of a court date or that Strangler Boofink was issued a “no contact order” from the Judge, which he violated daily. 

After a woman claiming to be his wife called me earlier that day, I told “Boofink” she called and if he was married I was breaking up with him.  He called her a liar. She sounded sincere and I suggested calling her to straighten it out. He calmly walked over, took the phone as if to dial, slammed it down, told me “I will kill you”, grabbed my neck with his hands, and strangled me to unconsciousness. I floated in a sea of peaceful white light. I felt I was watching a movie about myself.Then I was dropped or thrown to the kitchen floor on my head, which is when I came to and saw he was bending over me still strangling me, but I was on the floor instead of standing. It was a miracle I was able to pop up, grab the kitchen phone and dial 911.  He grabbed the phone, slammed it down, and in that split second I darted under his arms and ran to the bedroom. I slammed and locked the door, and picked up the extension phone to call 911 again. The next miracle is the kitchen phone had not disconnected and 911 was on the line. “911, What’s your emergency?” I blurted out my address, and told her “My boyfriend is trying to kill me.” He was banging on the locked bedroom door.  I told all the above to the 911 operator, and waited in the locked bedroom and on the phone with her until 2 officers came to the door.  One took my statement, but didn’t seem to be paying attention to what I said. I was weak and leaned on the wall for support. The other officer spoke with Boofink.  That officer said they were required to give him a ticket because there were red marks around my neck.  The officer who had questioned me said, “Sorry man” about giving him a ticket.

Why didn’t they take me to the hospital?  It turns out I had a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), was seconds from death, damaged vocal cords, and was at risk (as all strangulation victims are) of internal asphyxiation in the first 48 hours.  Why did the police call it “domestic” and who later changed it to “non-domestic”?  Why did they only give him a ticket for 3rd degree assault when it was attempted murder, felony strangulation? Why didn’t they take him to jail and get me to the hospital? Why was I kept in the dark about what was happening, preventing me from any sort of justice?


In 2018 I was able to speak to the arresting officer who is still at LPD and he  read from the internal case file.  The report had many falsehoods in it and was incomplete.  It seems none of my information was in the report.  It had total lies: Karen was throwing plates, Karen tried twice to cancel the 911 call, Karen asked them not to give him a ticket.  All untrue.  I asked him if he had in the report any broken plates?  He said “no, and had there been broken plates it would have been noted in the report”. He told me I only had 3 years to file charges, which had long past. It took me 25+ years to be able to speak publicly about this attack, as it does many victims of trauma. I learned “MR” was the attorney, a Real Estate attorney I thought was my friend, who I used in 2014 to draw papers when I bought my mom’s house.  I had no idea.

Standing up for my truth will hopefully save other women and girls from harm.  He told me he had punched his first wife in the face, causing her to go to the hospital. She divorced him. He told me in 1995 how in college he picked up junior high girls, took them to his UNL Frat house, raped them, orchestrated gang rapes with his Frat brothers, and fed the girls beer so they didn’t know what was going on.  He told me many details. One was a black girl who called him “Boofink”.  I don’t know her name but she may still be in Lincoln.  Rape of a minor has no statute of limitations in NE. After he laughed and told me all this, threw up and prayed “God, I’ve got to get away from him. Tell me what to do”.   I was afraid he would try to kill me again. My prayers were answered. I went to counseling, learned tools, broke up with him, sold my business and my house and moved to California.  I do not feel safe in Lincoln.  When he tried to contact me in 2014 after I moved back to Lincoln to help my mom, I called the police, went to crisis counseling and started learning about and healing my trauma.  It was buried for many years.

I wish I could have spoken up sooner, but have learned “traumatized brains make traumatized choices”.


I forgive myself.

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