Men also fall prey to domestic violence, male victim says at Greenwich vigil
Frank MacEachern, Staff Writer for GreenwichTime.com
Updated 12:04 p.m., Friday, October 7, 2011
Women are not the only victims of domestic violence.
A man who went only by the name of John, speaking to about 90 people gathered for the YWCA of Greenwich Domestic Abuse Services' annual candlelight vigil on Thursday evening, related his story of an abusive relationship with his wife and the help he received from YWCA counselors and town police.
"You are probably surprised, yes, I am a man," John said. "I lived with it for many, many years."
John, who is now divorced, said he suffered from emotional abuse at the hands of his ex-wife and that he finally sought help two years ago at the urging of Greenwich Police.
"They didn't laugh at me, they actually supported me and came over and listened," he said. "On the third time I called they actually handed me the card for the YWCA domestic abuse program and said, `It's time. Give them a call. You are not going to basically be able to deal with this yourself.'"
But it took John a while to dial the number.
"I didn't call right away because I'm a guy. It doesn't happen to us," he said.
John praised the counselors at the YWCA for their work in counseling him and taking his situation seriously. Through their counseling he learned that abusers are relentless, he said.
"I found that abusers are toxic; they are relentless. They will take every opportunity to harm you," he said. "It doesn't end. That is the sad part of it."
A Greenwich woman in attendance at the event Thursday night also turned to the YWCA for counseling and said it has helped turn her life around.
Kathryn Dydecka, 35, said she turned to the YWCA two years ago after being victimized for 10 years.
She learned through counseling that her experiences were not her fault, she said in an interview following the ceremony.
"I am not going crazy. I am not imagining this," she said. "Someone really listened and understood."
The emotional and physical abuse left her mentally scarred, and she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder that made it difficult for her to hold a job.
That has all changed after going through the YWCA's program, she said.
"I am a success story," she said. "I just got a job yesterday."
The names of 23 Connecticut residents who died as a result of domestic abuse this year, including former Greenwich resident Sara Coit, 23, who was murdered on April 10 in New York City, were read at the vigil. Her boyfriend, Raul Barrera, has been charged with second-degree murder.
First Selectman Peter Tesei proclaimed October as domestic violence awareness month. Selectman David Theis was also present. Selectman Drew Marzullo did not attend due to a prior commitment.
"We wish we were not here this evening to have this event," Adrianne Singer, the YWCA's president and chief executive said in her remarks. "We are here to help victims of domestic violence and save lives. Unfortunately we are busier than ever."
The YWCA of Greenwich is the sole licensed provider of domestic violence services for adults and children in Greenwich. The organization's free, confidential and bilingual services include individual and group counseling, safety planning, shelter, legal information, court advocacy and more. The YWCA's hot line, 203-622-0003, can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Andy Jablow was given the Purple Ribbon Award in honor of her volunteer work with the YWCA's domestic abuse services.
Published at GreenwichTime.com