The Shelter for Abused Women and Children in Naples recommends teens and adults alike set boundaries with their partners, whatever their gender. Domestic violence can happen in any home, any relationship. In fact, one in seven men have been victims of severe physical violence by a partner during their lifetime.
One survivor hopes his story will encourage other men to ask for help.
“I was involved in a really terrible relationship,” said the man, a father who wishes to remain anonymous. “She did threaten to kill my kids, and this has been ongoing for years, and I have called the police on her dozens of times and for them to not recognize that, ‘Oh, OK, this guy is telling the truth,’ it made me feel small.”
He’s a victim turned survivor, and he credits the Shelter for Abused Women and Children’s InVEST program. The shelter first reached out to him when a police report involving him and his partner ended up on an advocate’s desk.
“I actually cried the first time on the phone, because that was the first time I thought someone could help me,” the man said. “I think the shelter helped me save what I had left that was going on in my life.”
He says he didn’t think he qualified for a place like the shelter because he is a man.
“I felt like it wasn’t an option for me,” he said. “Again, it falls into that I’m a man and I should be able to provide for my family and provide no matter what.”
Now, he wants to end that mindset, and let other men in his former position know it’s OK to ask for help.
“Everybody needs help now and again, especially if you’re a guy thinking he’s too macho to get help; don’t ever think that,” he said. “I just want to be protected and protect my kids. I want to make sure they’re safe… you don’t want to end up in a situation where you aren’t around your kids, so definitely reach out.”