There Is No Shame There Is No Shame

I want the world to know that there are all different kinds of domestic violence. Men can also be a victim and it does not make anyone less of a person to tell and get help.

In 1995 while I was in the Army, I met Susan while she was going out with a friend of mine. A week later, she informed me that they had broken up and she wanted to date, so we started going out. At the time I was young with a pretty girl and did not care that it had upset my friend. Four months later she told me she was pregnant with twins. Being raised the way I was, I took responsibility for my actions and we decided to get married.

After moving out of the barracks and into an apartment was when the abuse started: Susan was always going somewhere. I asked her where she was going and she would say to meet friends, but would not let me come because she said I wouldn't like them. I had a car before we got married. She traded in the car for $400.00 and got a convertible mustang. Since I was on the title I had to sign it over. Afterward she took the money and spent it on things she wanted. One time I was on my computer and she didn't like that, so the next morning I found the keyboard full of hot wax and ruined. I asked her why she did this and was told that she didn't want me on the computer anymore because I had to take care of the house. Another time, I was watching TV and she wanted me to go bed, but I was not tired. I remember waking up the next morning very sick and told her that I needed to see a doctor. She calmly said, "No, you don't. It's the side affect of valium." She drugged my drink because she wanted me to go to bed.

After four months, I asked about the babies and when I could go to an appointment with her. She told me I could go to next month's appointment with her, so I requested the day off of work. When I showed up at home she was not there. Several hours later she showed up and told me that she had had an abortion several months ago and was afraid to tell me because I might get angry. I was very upset. Luckily my squad leader showed up shortly after this news and convinced me to leave the apartment and come to the barracks for the night. The next day I made the decision with the help of my friend and military company to totally move out of the apartment and back into the barracks.

The next day I discovered everything she had told me about the babies was a lie. I started the paperwork to get the marraige anulled. I had her served with papers. After she got them, she went to the Criminal Investigation Division and told them I had raped her several times and was beating her. The Judge Advocate General did not press charges because there wasn't enough evidence. After this action, I received a letter from her that stated she would get back at me for what I had done. When she could not get me arrested, she went out and purchased a gun. Thankfully, the Military Police caught her on post speeding. They asked her what the gun was for and she told them, "I'm going to shoot my husband." They immediately confiscated the gun and detained her.

I was told she ended up in a hospital for a while. I was able to get out of the situation with a lot of help from friends, family, church, and the Army. Most victims of domestic violence don't have the help I got. I was very lucky.

Recently, I just found out that Susan had serious problems and had done similar things to two other men in Washington State. She kept bothering one man so much, he committed suicide while is current wife was on a business trip. Her patterns are repeating.

My portrait was done to portray that even after you are out of the situation, it is a long tough road to recover. The survivor is always healing and eventually will be fully healed.

Artist's Note: The idea of men being a victim of domestic violence really surprises people. Since men are usually physically bigger and stronger than women, they expect the man to be the aggressor, but this isn't always true. When I met this survivor, I realized that he is a sweet and gentle person without a mean bone in his body. When a guy finds himself in an abusive situation it can be such a shock and embarrassment because of this social belief. Domestic Violence comes in all forms and always begins with mental and emotional control. That means it can happen to anybody.