Men Are Abuse Victims, Too #4

hurt boy sitting on a park bench; dove of hope at cornerThe years I spent in a relationship with my abuser didn’t end when I moved out of the house, got married, and started my own family. What I had learned over the twenty plus years of cohabitation with my abuser became my way of living as an adult. I lived day to day as a “follower” always looking for direction from others. Always preferring to be told what to do rather than come up with my own ideas. By doing without much of my developmental years, I became in many ways a very selfish person when it came to doing things for others over looking out for myself and my interests.

Even though I now had the freedom to live my own life and make my own decisions, I still looked to listen and obey whoever would instruct me on what to do and how to do it. I tried to symbolically bury my abuser, (even though she was already deceased) so that she would no longer have an effect on my life. It wasn’t until I recently forgave her that I’ve felt some release from her hold on me.

If any of what you’ve read in my story over the past four weeks sounds like your life or someone you know, I urge you to get proper counsel from a professional, your church, or a friend you can trust. Don’t let it linger the way I did and waste countless years of your life. DV is a terrible thing, and whether you are a man or a woman, it can have an effect on you for a lifetime either mentally physically or both. My best advice to you is to deal with it NOW. Don’t endanger yourself and your well being hoping it will get better. You need to take care of you. Don’t let your abuser control you as I did. You can have a long and happy life ahead of you, but only if you escape the control of that abuser that wants to rule your life.

Men Are Abuse Victims, Too #3

hurt boy sitting on a park bench; dove of hope at cornerAs I mentioned last week, as a young adult, I was forced to do the things my abuser wanted me to do. Instead of playing baseball, hockey, basketball and spending time with other guys and my guy friends, I was forced to spend countless hours at the roller skating rink wearing extremely feminine looking clothing, doing feminine type routines on roller skates. The other people at the skating rink were very feminine in nature and it had an effect on me in spite of my efforts to not allow it to. I remember having to get fitted for skating outfits, by an elite seamstress who took advantage of being able to touch a fit young man. I hated going there, but my abuser insisted that this person was the best there was and I had to have the best looking outfit for my competition.

I was given the gift of athleticism by God and it translated into skating as well. I was one of the top skaters in the country, winning numerous awards and trophies, not because I wanted to, but because I was forced to. I was told I had to lead the skating rink’s effort to win the team trophy at each event and the team was depending on me.

As I moved into young adulthood, I tried to break away from the skating routine and my abuser and pour my efforts into my true love of baseball. I was good enough at baseball to receive a full scholarship to the University of Michigan and Cleveland State University. I was one of the top players in high school and even had a tryout with the St Louis Cardinals and offered a minor league contract. Upon my return from the tryout, I wanted to discuss my options of taking the contract to pursue a professional baseball career. My abuser would have no part of that, and told me the words that would effect me for life, “I knew you wouldn’t make it, it’s time for you to get a real job.” My abuser would never attend one of my games in high school or college. On occasion my father would try and sneak away and attend a game without my abuser knowing it, and although he didn’t really understand the game or have any interest in it, he knew I was one of the best in the game.

Next week, I will conclude my blog by talking about the long term effects DV has had on me as an adult, and even now as a senior adult. Unfortunately abuse doesn’t go to the grave with the abuser, and even though my abuser can no longer hurt or have an effect on me, I still have to fight to convince myself of that fact.

Identify, Understand, And Intervene

It is important to identify the warning signs that domestic violence is occurring in a relationship or marriage.

It is also helpful to understand the causes and consequences of domestic violence, including its effects on the perpetrator, on the victim, on the children in the family, and on schools and churches.

It is necessary to intervene when you confront domestic violence as it is happening or when you learn that it has occurred in the past.

It is very important to Reach Out and Speak Out against domestic violence as a whole!

You Can Help

The Value of VolunteeringOver the years, the most common question we hear from the public is “How can I help?
There are many ways you can be of help to Reach Out Speak Out. First, we are in dire need of volunteers for our auxiliary committee. All that is required to be on our auxiliary committee is 30 service hours per YEAR. Very doable!

Second, we are always in need of gift cards for our families. Walmart, Publix, Winn Dixie, Walgreen’s, gas stations are key among the cards we give our families for their needs each month. We even have a Scrip Program where you can purchase your gift cards through Reach Out Speak Out and the non-profit receives a percentage from your purchase and it doesn’t cost you any more than the face value of the cards you purchase. Third, of course, we always take cash donations! We are happy to provide receipts for your tax-deductible donations for your taxes
Every person involved in Reach Out Speak Out on the Board of Directors, our Advisory Board of Licensed Counselors and our Auxiliary Committee are volunteers. Every penny that we get through the generous donations goes to our families. We have no paid employees!

If you or your organization or your business is interested in hearing more about Reach Out Speak Out, please do not hesitate to ask. You can reach out to me via email at [email protected] or call me on my cell at 813-985-1970.


Make A Change - DonatingSince becoming the Board of Directors Chair, I have had many people ask me how they can help Reach Out Speak Out. Besides volunteering your time, we can use your talents and of course your treasure! Our families are always in need of gift cards for groceries and gas as well as needing toiletries, gluten-free foods, and even laundry and cleaning supplies.

As Reach Out Speak Out continues to grow, so do our needs for donations and volunteers. We are available to speak to your civic or community organizations about Reach Out Speak Out. Do you attend a church that needs to hear about us? Let us know and we would be happy to speak with your church leadership about how we could help each other!

We are currently in the process of planning our largest fundraiser, The Purple Passion. It is held annually in October during Domestic Violence Awareness month. We have one of the most extensive silent auctions in the city with gift baskets in every price range. All proceeds go to the charity. All items are donated by various citizens, businesses, and foundations as well as local sports teams and restaurants.

If you or your organization would like to donate for this worthy cause, please contact me at [email protected] or call 813-985-1970.

Impact Of Popular Culture On Domestic Violence

Impact of Popular Culture on Domestic ViolenceThe impact of popular culture on domestic violence is not something to which I had honestly given a lot of thought. Even though I’m a survivor. A couple of weeks ago, though, the movie “Grease” was being played. And it got me thinking.

I have always loved that movie. It came out in 1978, just a few weeks before the mall opened in my little one-horse town. It had a huge influence on my friends and me. At fifteen, in a small town that most of us dreamed of getting out of, it was bright and lively and rebellious and just plain fun. We walked around quoting lines for months. I can still sing (not well) every syllable of every song from that movie.

When it was on a couple of weeks ago, though, I  started thinking about how the Sandy at the beginning of the movie was not the same Sandy at the end of the movie. She changed. For a guy. For a guy who treated her pretty shabbily when he was around his “cool” friends.

How often have I remade myself to be what someone else wanted in order to not rock the boat? To not be criticized? To not be discarded and unloved?


Having been in abusive relationships, I find myself wondering if this is where and how it begins for some of us. Books and music and movies that say we’re not good enough just as we are so that when we meet up with a narcissist or other type of abusive personality, we are “easy pickings” for them. I’m pretty sure that happened to me. I grew up on Harlequin romances, movies where the princess/heroine is rescued by a man, and in a culture where we don’t air our dirty laundry. We neither Reach Out nor Speak Out.

If you don’t mind, I’d like us to explore this during March. It’s a time of spring and new beginnings. Let’s dig up the weeds and instead fertilize what’s good in us — because, as the saying goes, God doesn’t make junk! 


Reach Out Speak Out Celebrates Five Years!

Reach Out Speak Out Is Five
Reach Out Speak Out Celebrates Five Years!

Reach Out Speak Out is celebrating five years of service as a non-profit to families that are in a domestic violence relationship. The organization was started by Paul and Jan Porter seven years ago. The emphasis is directed toward helping those in the faith-based community.

On February 23, Reach Out Speak Out had a celebration which all Board of Directors, Advisory and Auxiliary members were invited to attend. 

The new chairperson was installed. Elizabeth Sullivan is a domestic violence survivor. She’s a mother of five and a businesswoman and is well aware of what it takes to be a survivor. The outgoing chair, Jan Porter, will continue to sit on the board and serve in the capacity of treasurer.

More information on the board members, advisory committee and auxiliary can be found here.

You can also find us on Facebook.