NEW JERSEY (WTXF) - It was a courageous act by a New Jersey assemblywoman on her last day in office--a revelation that she was a victim of domestic abuse. It may have cost now former New Jersey Assemblywoman Maria Rodriguez-Gregg her seat in Trenton, but she won't be silent anymore. She doesn't want the shame and pain to ruin her life or the lives of other women.
"It's hard to keep that kind of secret," she told FOX 29.
The kind of secret this beautiful, intelligent, influential, strong, physically active mother of two hid while she was working on domestic violence legislation and other reforms in the New Jersey State Assembly.
"It does feel like a huge weight lifted," she said.
36-year-old Maria Rodriguez-Gregg revealed her secret on her last day in public office on Facebook.
It's been one year since another assault by her male partner landed her in the hospital and hiding from the world even though she pressed charges, he pled guilty and a restraining order was issued.
"Being open about it and what I was going through and how it was affecting me was to encourage others to get help so it doesn't get to that point," she told FOX 29.
The point where she says she had become a ticking time bomb and it was coming out for all to see on this police body cam video.
A profane tirade after a minor accident that led to her arrest for DUI last spring. Even then she hid how she was hurting and eventually dropped her bid for re-election.
"For me it was a wakeup call. I accept full responsibility for what I did but it was a wakeup call because it was like you're not OK."
She admits--still out of embarrassment, fear of judgemental, and fear of being hurt again--led her on a downward spiral until she says she says someone confided in her.
"Their family member committed suicide after experiencing abuse and domestic violence. I didn't want that to be me."
She says she's doing much better than she was, but now wants to change the stigma that prevents women from coming forward.