Shannon Moroney was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and worked full-time as a teacher, counsellor and social justice advocate for several years. At age 30, she married Jason whom she had known and loved for three years. They bought a house in Peterborough where they planned to start a family. Their wedding in October 2005 was a joyful Thanksgiving celebration with family and friends.
One month later, Shannon's life was traumatically altered: When she was out of town, attending a teachers’ conference, police came to her hotel room to ask her to return. Her house was a crime scene and her husband was in custody after confessing to violent sexual assault and kidnapping of two women.
portrait by Anka Czudec, Studio Anka, Toronto
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. Many friendships came to an end, while others grew stronger through compassion. She also had to grapple with Jason’s past. As a youth with a turbulent childhood, he had a violent episode at age 18 which ended in the death of a woman and a 10 year-sentence for second degree murder. By the time they met 15 years later, Jason was reestablishing his life, and was an example of the redemptive powers of the system. Shannon was assured by officials that Jason would not re-offend, and trusting them and Jason, she chose to become part of his second chance: the best second chance that anyone could ask for. When he re-offended, everyone's trust was shattered.
Shannon had to make difficult choices and find a healing path that would lead her out of victimhood and toward peace and 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. At the end of a two-and-a-half year court process, Jason was declared a Dangerous Offender and sentenced to an indeterminate period of incarceration—Canada's highest penalty.
Soon after, Shannon began speaking out about her experience, sharing a raw and honest account of the impact that her husband’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.
Her memoir, Through the Glass, is published in Canada by Doubleday Canada (October 2011) and in the USA, UK and throughout the Commonwealth by Simon & Schuster (October 2012). In the UK, the title is The Stranger Inside.