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Celebrating Fathers: Survivors' Stories on Fatherhood 

June 2021

At Safe Horizon we see and help many fathers affected by abuse across our programs. In our journey to becoming an inclusive respite for all survivors of violence, it is critical that we include fathers’ survivor stories in the narrative around abuse and violence. Here we share stories of three fathers who experienced domestic violence, homelessness, and other abuse.

Mark: Student, Peer Leader, and Now New Father

New Yorker and expectant father Mark has been coming to Safe Horizon’s Streetwork Project for several years. He became homeless while living with his mother and as a young adult he has been couchsurfing with various friends, partners, and family members. People experiencing homelessness are often looked down upon – and homeless fathers even more so. At Safe Horizon honor each person’s journey, and provide non-judgmental support for all survivors.

The Streetwork Project staff do all they can to provide homeless parents with the tools needed to meet their children’s needs. This includes helping them obtain necessary baby items like diapers, stroller, or clothes, and holding support groups for parents.

At Streetwork Project and Safe Horizon, we will continue to support all survivors regardless of how the world treats them. To all the homeless fathers like Mark: we see your strengths, recognize your struggle, and are here to support you as you continue on your journey from crisis to confidence.

Tyrone: Father and Domestic Violence Survivor

The numbers are stark. Statistics tell us that 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence during their lifetime. Men, especially Black men and men of color, face more barriers to seeking help and being open about their experience because society projects harmful stereotypes and shame onto them. Survivors like *Tyrone are speaking out and showing that fathers can also be harmed by domestic violence – and can thrive in parenthood despite it. Watch Tyrone speak about fatherhood, being a male victim of domestic violence, and how he overcame it all with the help of Safe Horizon’s Domestic Violence Shelters – because he needed to find safety for his daughter.

Lucas: Father and Refugee

Lucas is a Christian pastor and a devoted father. He fled Nigeria with his family and sought refuge in the United States to escape violence; they faced brutal persecution by Boko Haram, a violent terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria. If they returned to their native country, their lives would be in serious jeopardy. Staying in the U.S. truly was a matter of life and death.

Lucas and his family came to Safe Horizon’s Immigration Law Project (ILP) for legal assistance. ILP staff advocate on behalf of immigrant survivors of crime, torture, or abuse and their families. Specialized attorneys help them obtain and maintain lawful status in this country. ILP staff helped Lucas, his wife, and his children apply for asylum. They spent years waiting for their day in court. It finally came in March 2020. On the day New York City was ordered to PAUSE as a result of the global pandemic, ILP nonetheless appeared in immigration court on behalf of Lucas and his family. And on that day, as a result of ILP’s advocacy, Lucas and his family were granted asylum. Lucas is very happy to have found ILP who helped him secure a safe place for him to be a father.

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