The wife of the gunman who murdered 49 people in 2016 at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Orlando, has spoken out about the severe domestic abuse she suffered while married to him. Noor Salman spoke at length on her side of the story for the first time, telling VICE News she was “on eggshells every day” around her husband, Omar Mateen, who would kick, punch, threaten, and insult her once set off. Mateen also isolated Salman from her family, and repeatedly raped her over the course of their five-year marriage, she said. Salman told VICE she missed the signs of her husband’s radicalization. “Looking back now, I should have seen the red flags,” she said, referring to the lead-up to the Pulse shooting.
Salman has always maintained she hadn’t known what her husband was planning. She was charged with obstruction of justice and aiding and abetting Mateen in 2017, after making a number of incriminating statements to federal agents during an 11-hour questioning. Salman told VICE that she confessed to accompanying her husband when he bought a gun and cased the club just to get out of the interrogation room. Found not guilty, she still spent more than a year in prison. “I thought the whole thing was a travesty,” a domestic violence expert witness for Salman’s pre-trial told VICE News. “I do not believe she aided and abetted. I believe she was trying to get through to the next day.”