Alexandria, VA – Kate Ranta’s story is not for the faint of heart, and it starts the same way as many romantic relationships. Everything seemed so perfect that she ignored all of the red flags and lived for years in a bubble of disbelief and wishful thinking. The only good news that came from it all is that she and her family survived to tell the tale, and that years of domestic violence turned this Alexanrian into an author and fierce activist on gun reform and violence against women.
“My thing going forward is if I see it, I say something,” Ranta said at her book signing at the Brady Campaign headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Oct. 4. “I want other people to understand, to read this and understand that this is happening so much, and it’s not okay. So, I’m really happy that this is out in the universe.”
Turning Tragedy into Triumph
All of it came to a head in Nov. 2012, when Ranta’s then-husband, Former U.S. Air Force Major Thomas Maffei, shot her and her father at her home in Coral Springs, Florida. Since then, Ranta has completely changed her life. She moved to Alexandria to raise her young son William and be near her other son, Henry, who lives with his father.
“Killing Kate: A Story of Turning Abuse and Tragedy into Transformation and Triumph” is Ranta’s story – without boundaries. It goes into great detail on nearly every aspect of her previous relationship. She wrote the book with Alisa Divine, the author of #SheWins. The foreword was written by actress Evan Rachel Wood, who is a domestic violence survivor and worked with Ranta to get the Phoenix Act passed through the California legislature.
“I’ve been very public about this for a long time,” Ranta said. “But I haven’t gotten to tell the grim details. And this is very personal stuff that happened and was said that people just don’t know, and I’m just one woman saying this.”
The book was also released in October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. An estimated 20 people per minute are victims of domestic violence in the U.S., according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Ranta said she couldn’t have written the book without Divine.
“It’s been a labor of love,” Ranta said. “It was so hard. I avoided even doing the recordings that I needed to do to tell the story to give to her. She pushed me to just keep going, and I can’t even tell you how hard that was, and the editing process and re-triggering myself. But this is the culmination of it. And I’m just I’m so proud of us and can’t believe I can’t believe we did this.”
Divine said she was inspired to help Ranta write the book shortly after meeting her.
“I said, ‘Kate, I want to tell your story. Can I write your book? I think that I can help you. I think that I can do it,’” Divine said. “Getting to see this transformation in her in this process, and when the book came out it has been incredible, because she just owns it. And she wants to help other people. I’m just so proud for her.”