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Fernando and A Dog Called Hope

Fernando spent seven years sharing a home with his abusive partner Brian while holding onto his dog Hope for support. Fernando was unsure of how he could live without fear until he found Safe Horizon.

Read about how our Court Program that helped Fernando is supported by Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program.

Gay Domestic Violence Story: Fernando and A Dog Called Hope
*Fernando’s warm and ready smile tells you that there’s something special about him. But this seemingly carefree soul has had his fair share of troubles. He came out as gay and because of it was made fun of at school and shunned by his conservative Latino family. Fernando adopted a dog and named her Hope because of the love and happiness he dreamed of having one day.

Fernando's Dog Hope Gay Domestic Violence Story
Fernando thought that things would change when he met Brian. But unfortunately, after seven years of sharing a home together, Fernando felt that the chance for a better life was slipping further away. Brian physically, verbally and psychologically abused Fernando, and even threatened to harm Hope if Fernando broke up with him.

Fernando was one of the 1 in 4 gay men who experience rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Fernando was unsure of how he could protect himself and his beloved pet, until he found Safe Horizon.

Overcoming Domestic Violence

When Fernando first came to one of our criminal court-based programs he was reeling. He had been in a hospital recovering from one of Brian’s brutal physical attacks. The attack happened after Fernando broke up with Brian and was collecting his belongings from the apartment. Although Fernando reported the incident and Brian was arrested, he was still unsure of what to do next.

The physical wounds hurt, but he also felt ashamed and intimidated opening up to the police. He felt self-conscious that sharing the personal details of his life would make people think less of him as a man and that he would be judged and rejected, just as he was by his parents. Thankfully, Fernando overcame his fear and asked the police for more help. They connected Fernando to our compassionate team where he could find guidance navigating the court system to work through his domestic violence situation.

Finding Safety after Domestic Violence

Our staff is trained to empower survivors of violence to be in charge of their own recovery process. Fernando met a case manager named Carla and told her that he was concerned about his own safety as well as the well-being of his pet, whose life was in Brian’s hands. Since Brian could attack Fernando again, Carla helped Fernando file for and obtain an Order of Protection. She advised Fernando to carry the Order of Protection with him in case Brian retaliated.

Finding initial safety was hard, but putting the pieces of his life back together would be even harder. Since the couple lived together, Fernando’s decision to leave became the decision to be homeless. To support himself, Fernando needed to find low-income housing, but the availability was limited and getting placement was both complicated and time-consuming.

A Sign of Hope for Fernando

Carla guided Fernando and assisted him with completing an application for permanent housing through the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA). A sign of hope arrived in the form of an approval letter for NYCHA priority status, which meant that Fernando had been successfully accepted on the waiting list for permanent housing. In the meantime, he lives with a friend and has his extra belongings in a secure storage facility.

Dedicated to ensuring the safety of everyone involved in instances of crime and abuse, Carla advocated with the ASPCA to rescue Hope and arrange for her to be placed in a temporary shelter. Unfortunately, Hope arrived sick and was desperately in need of lifesaving surgery. Carla continued to coordinate with the ASPCA who subsidized the surgery and saved the dog’s life.

One Step Closer to a Safe Horizon

Fernando was relieved that he finally had Hope, and that together, they would finally be on a journey to freedom from violence. Fernando often visits his beloved pet at the animal shelter while he continues to wait for a home of his own. Fernando came to us distraught and terrified, but with the help of our caring guides and advocates, Fernando feels safe and looks forward to a new life with his best friend, Hope.

* Client names and identifying information have been changed to protect their privacy. Images used are representations of Safe Horizon’s clients.