Because her husband was a pastor, Mary Winkler says it was of "number one importance" to maintain the image of a perfect couple. "I will always hold to the fact of who he really was, his real self. He just was charismatic," she says. "It was just that contrast at home, in a relaxing setting where he could just lose control."
Mary Winkler says she tried hide her private pain from everyone—even lying to her own father about being abused. "At the time, you think you hide these things. I just, I didn't want anybody knowing anything," she says.
At one point, Mary Winkler says she asked for a divorce, but Matthew's role as a preacher did not allow for one. "It just was so bad. And he [wanted a divorce], too. We talked about it and that's one of the few times I ever spoke up and really said what I thought," she says. "He said, 'Do you want a divorce?' and I said yes. And I think it just surprised him because of course that wasn't something that could be followed through."
In court, Mary Winkler also testified that she was sexually abused in her marriage. She says Matthew made her perform "sexual acts I didn't want to do"—dressing up in platform shoes and wigs, performing oral sex and anal sex, and watching pornography. "At the moment, I know there were certain times where my natural reaction would have been to push him off and he would stop that," she says. "When we were not in the heat of the moment and he would say, 'What'd you think about this or that?' And I would say, 'No, don't like that, let's not.' And he'd say, 'Okay.' But just he would get going and that was just it."
Mary Winkler says she regrets not standing up for herself. "That's just another, one of the many things that I think of daily where I failed Matthew," she says. "That just became something ingrained in him at a very young age and he just had to have the bigger and better and more, whereas I wish so much that we could've stopped and he could've gotten some help, how to deal with that. And try to get that out of his mind, to be satisfied more naturally."