It took Mike more than two years after the fact to realize what he thought was love, was in fact abuse. When Mike met Kyle, he thought he had found his soulmate and would live out his dream of being in a loving relationship. Very quickly, Mike became extremely isolated from his friends and began limiting his social and extracurricular activities to be with Kyle. Already not feeling safe and unsure of where to go, Mike tried reaching out to a few friends, but every time he tried, he was not believed or his friends told him that he was a man too and to just “hit him back.”
Mike was referred to our Personal Empowerment Program (PEP) to learn about domestic violence to better learn about the cycle that he kept repeating time and time again. Mike was nervous to join the group because he was not sure how other members in the group would treat him. After the first session, Mike shared about how listening to others in the group talk about their experiences helped him to recognize many of the same warning or red flags that he had missed when he first start dating Kyle. He mentioned that the PEP group made him feel safe, more knowledgeable about his experience and most important felt heard for the first time in a long time. With the education and tools gained from the group, Mike is hopeful to break the cycle for himself in seeking healthy relationships, now has various resources for help, and working to heal and expand his support system again.
“We need more awareness about intimate abuse so people know that violence is a choice and it doesn’t discriminate based on our gender.” – Mike, Survivor