In November 2005, 30-year old Shannon Moroney was a respected educator, proud homeowner, active volunteer and happy newlywed. While away attending a conference, a knock at her hotel room door shattered the life she knew. It was a police officer, there to deliver the shocking news that her house was a crime scene and her husband was in custody after confessing to the violent sexual assault and kidnapping of two women.
Grief, confusion, stigma and loss stalked her. Within weeks, she lost her beloved job, her income, her ability to trust and the future she planned for. She felt agony for the assault victims but was powerless to help them. The effects of Jason’s violence rippled through the community and lines were drawn. Some relationships ended, while others strengthened.
Shannon also had to grapple with Jason’s past: a violent episode as a teenager ended with the death of a woman and a conviction of second-degree murder. A decade in prison followed by years of parole had made him a success story and an example of the redemptive powers of the system. By the time they met, Jason was re-establishing his life and giving back to the community. Officials were certain that he would never re-offend, and trusting both them and Jason, Shannon chose to become part of his second chance: the best second chance that anyone could ask for. They built a beautiful life together.
Inspiring triumph over trauma for people and communities
But underneath his positive exterior, Jason had hidden a dark side: fear, addiction, sexual deviance and a childhood history of abuse. Telling himselfthat he was in control of his demons, he didn’t reach out for help until it was too late—until he’d terribly harmed two innocent victims, torn apart the lives of many more, and landed himself back in prison. While Jason spent months in solitary confinement, Shannon was thrust into a painful and uncertain new identity—left to answer for Jason in his absence, face public scrutiny over her marriage, cope with a major criminal investigation, and mourn the loss of the life she’d known.
Shannon faced difficult choices as she searched for a path that would lead her out of trauma and toward a positive future. She was awarded a fellowship to complete a Masters' degree in England where she studied trauma and resilience. When she returned to Canada, she became active in the emerging field of restorative justice and began speaking out about her experience, sharing a raw and honest account of the impact that Jason’s crimes had on her professional and community status, as well as on her relationships with others and herself. In detailing her heartbreaking story of grief, violence, judgment and stigma, she also tells the story of a journey filled with compassion, restoration, forgiveness and hope.
Since 2008, Shannon has been addressing audiences around the world. Her memoir, Through the Glass, was published in Canada in 2011 where it became an instant national bestseller and nominee for several awards including the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. In 2012, it was published internationally.
Shannon now lives in Toronto, Canada, where she is remarried and the mother of twins. A volunteer with Leave Out ViolencE (LOVE), she is also a contributor to the international Forgiveness Project.
In 2012, Shannon's interview for CBC's The Current with Anna Maria Tremonte was named among the top 10 in the programs 10 years on air. It is currently on the Top Ten list at the international Empathy Library.
Listen to Shannon's interview with Anna Maria Tremonte, voted in the Top 10 in 10 Years: