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Lost in the Stacks: Dear Sister

Looking back, Michelle could see all the clues were there: frequent bruises on her sister’s face, burn marks on her chest, finger marks on her arms, a dislocated shoulder. But her younger sister Nikki always had a lighthearted excuse of clumsiness or bruising easily to minimize the injuries. So it was with real shock when Michelle opened the door one day to the police. Nikki was in jail for killing her partner, Chris. After years of enduring horrific domestic violence Nikki shot Chris in self-defense. 

Dear Sister coverIn the anguish of the days and weeks to follow, Michelle learned many people, including the police, knew not only about the abuse but also about the vile pornographic films Chris forced Nikki to participate in. Despite the many witnesses and documented evidence of abuse, prosecutors chose to pursue charges against Nikki. This threw her into an unfair, and at times cruel, criminal legal system, which as Nikki’s lawyers said didn’t really care about the truth. 


Michelle Horton’s memoir Dear Sister dispels myths about domestic violence and exposes the injustice faced by many survivors. At its heart, Dear Sister is a deeply personal story. There is the heartbreak of Nikki’s two young children – now Michelle’s responsibility – begging for their mother. There is anger at a legal system that traumatized her sister repeatedly. And there is gratitude at the circle of women who supported and fought for justice for Nikki. Troubling and heartfelt, this memoir offers unmistakable evidence that the justice system needs reform. 


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