Local News

Aug 30, 2013 7:09 PM by Janine Reyes

Shelter Helps Out Male Victims of Domestic Violence

CORPUS CHRISTI -- The Women's Shelter of South Texas helps more than 3,000 victims of domestic violence each year. Most of them are women. But the shelter also has services for men.

So far, they've seen 22 men this year, but, the likelihood is, there are a lot more out there, suffering in silence.

Men are less likely to be victims of domestic violence, but when they are, they're also less likely to report it. That's a problem, since domestic violence against anyone can turn deadly in an instant.

"Its embarrassing you know to say I got beat up by a girl," domestic violence victim Terry Samuels told us.

But he is sharing his story of abuse tonight, hoping another deadly case of domestic violence doesn't happen simply because a man is too embarrassed to report it.

One example came just a few weeks ago on August 10th, when police say 24-year-old Freddy Ayala died from violently during a fight with his pregnant girlfriend.

She ran him over in the parking lot of a bar on Leopard.

21-year-old Dena Gomez is pregnant with the couple's child and now behind bars, facing murder charges.

It's not known if the two had reports of domestic violence before.

Terry says for two years he endured abuse. It started out pretty minor.

"I got a sandwich thrown in my face and I made something else," Samuels said. But, over time, he says his abuser got more controlling, monitoring his cell phone, and wanting to know his every move. "(She called asking) where were you, what were you doing," he said "its almost a role reversal."

Although she is much smaller than him, about 5 feet tall, she also got more combative. after going through his phone one time, he tells us, she threw it on the floor. "I went to go put my phone back together, I was on all 4's on the floor, and she just came up and like she was kicking a football and just kicked me in the ribs," said Samuels, "broke 3 ribs, ruptured 4 disks, broke 3 vertebrae I had internal injuries."

He says that time, police picked her up. "I dropped charges and put her in the mental facility because I thought that was the best thing," Samuels told us. He says, it wasn't. there would be many more fits of rage, and more physical attacks. Today, he has the scars to remind him.

"A broken nose, a concussion, almost lost a finger from having it nearly bit off," Terry said, showing us his scars.

Gustavo Villalta at the Women's Shelter of South Texas says there are many reasons men don't report abuse. Some fear police won't believe that they're not the aggressor.

"Men statistically commit the highest amount of abuse, 96% of abuse towards other partners are by men," said Viallalta.

But for victims like terry, who aren't living a statistic, he says there are services available.

No matter what gender or sexual orientation you are, it is important to seek help before things go too far.

"Do the same thing as a woman would do," Villalata said, "call police, make a report, apply for a protective order do whatever you need to protect yourself."

For Terry, that breaking point came when he says his abuser broke his back.

"When it almost cost me my life; you know, I almost lost a finger, that was bad," Terry said, "I have scars on my body everyone can see everyday, that's embarrassing, but when it almost cost me my life and I had to make arrangements that I'm probably going to die with my children, that was just enough."

He sought help at a women's shelter and he's glad he did.

"They'll help a man too, you know, and I really thank them for that," Terry said.

Any victim of domestic violence is encouraged to seek services at the Women's Shelter of South Texas. The services they provide are confidential.

Their hotline is (361) 881-8888.

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