Mildred Muhammad doesn't have to have physical scars to be a victim of domestic violence.
And Mildred, who visited Leavenworth Thursday, speaks from experience. She says she suffered abuse from her ex-husband, John Allen Muhammad.
He was one half of a sniper team that terrorized the Washington, D.C., area as they killed 10 people and injured three other in 2002.
Muhammad and his accomplice eventually were caught. And Muhammad was executed in 2009.
Mildred says domestic violence was at the heart of the shootings. She said her ex-husband had been plotting to kill her and committed the shootings as a way to cover up his involvement in her eventual murder and gain custody of their children.
At the time, law enforcement placed into protective custody, she said.
Mildred said her ex-husband had abused her before the D.C. shootings.
"I was in hiding for two years," she said, but Muhammad eventually found out where she was in the Washington, D.C. area.
Mildred said anyone can be a victim of domestic violence regardless of background or gender.
"It can happen to anyone anywhere," she said.
She said people not only need to look at physical abuse but other types of abuses including psychological and stalking.
Mildred, who has authored books and established a not-for-profit organization, was in the area Thursday to speak at Fort Leavenworth. She was asked to speak at the post by the Family Advocacy Program.
Mildred said she intertwines her own story into her presentations.
And before speaking Thursday evening, she stopped by a facility operated by the Leavenworth-based Alliance Against Family Violence.
"She is a hero to all of us who work in this field," said Kay Andersen, executive director of the Alliance.
Andersen said she wanted to pick Mildred's brain about what the Alliance is doing well and what the organization can do better.
Judy Poncavage, Family Advocacy Program manager, said Mildred is saving lives where ever she goes and shares her message.