Cover Photo: photo of the author as a child / courtesy of the author
photo of the author as a child / courtesy of the author

Why We Must Believe Women: My Family’s Legacy of Violence and Murder

My aunt accused her husband of spousal rape. Less than a year after he was acquitted, he murdered her.

In 1980 my Aunt Lydia accused her husband Mark of spousal rape. It was the first case Fresno County had ever seen. Though Fresno is the fifth-largest city in California, it was uncomfortable for people then (and now, I would guess) to imagine that rape could occur between a husband and wife. That Mark—Lydia’s high school sweetheart, the father of her small son—had assaulted her within their marriage covenant.




I guess I should be thankful.

Don’t touch me

that bad.

Chelsea Bieker is from California's Central Valley. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in McSweeney's Quarterly, Catapult, Joyland, The Cincinnati Review, The Normal School, No Tokens, Cosmonauts Avenue, The Elephants, The Collagist, Pregnancy and Newborn Magazine, and others.  Her work has been supported by the MacDowell Colony and the Tin House Writer’s Workshop.  Currently she lives in Portland, Oregon  where she is writing a novel, teaching, and working as a professional online dating profile writer. Find her @chelseabieker and