By Mathew Rodriguez
October 28, 2016
For two years, Armando told no one that he was living with a partner who subjected him to physical, emotional and psychological abuse. In 2007, after a severe fight with his partner landed him in the hospital, he finally had enough.
Like other male victims of domestic abuse, Armando faced several roadblocks in the search for support and justice. Traditional ideas of intimate partner violence often focus on male abusers and female victims — the fact that Armando is gay man made access to help even harder.
Intimate partner violence in LGBTQ communities, according to the NCAVP, has not yet been integrated into the mainstream narrative. In their survey of 648 domestic violence agencies in 2014, 94% of respondents said they were not serving LGBTQ domestic violence survivors.
“The domestic violence system is predicated on the idea of battered women, violence against women and men as abusers, ” Lisa O’Connor, deputy program officer at Safe Horizon, said in a phone interview. “I don’t think it’s a blatant stigma against men. It’s part of a history of seeing domestic violence in a heteronormative way.“
Shortly after, he went to Safe Horizon. There, he shared his story of the previous five years with a case worker.
Since the ordeal is over, Armando says he finally feels free from the ghost haunting him over his shoulder.
That freedom has helped him to speak out about his experiences. For October, Armando painted one nail purple as part of Safe Horizon’s #PutTheNailInIt campaign to raise awareness about domestic violence. He even shared his story at a recent gala event hosted by the organization.
“I felt safe because I felt like ‘this is over, ‘” Armando said. “I feel now that, even though the case was dismissed, it’s behind me now. I don’t have to look behind my back anymore. I don’t have fear in my heart for him.“