At 23 years of age, Marcus has sage advice for others seeking a way out of an abusive situation. “If you’re on the fence about seeking help, I want you to remember two things: First, your circumstances never determine your value or worth,” says Marcus. “Secondly, remember to never be ashamed of your story, or what you’re going through, because one day your story could be used to help someone else.”
The stigma attached to domestic violence means people who are trapped in abusive situations often need reassurance that they are doing the right thing by seeking help. Many victims are understandably hesitant to step forward, and this reluctance is magnified in the LGBTQ community, where victims are afraid to be outed to their family or co-workers.
Marcus decided to seek help when his previous sexual partner would not stop harassing and stalking him. Stalking often goes unreported but it can escalate quickly and is known to be a precursor to violence. In Marcus’ case, the sexual partner was stalking him and harassing him with texts threatening to kill him. Unfortunately, Marcus’ situation is not uncommon and technology has only made it easier for abusers to stalk and harass victims.
Stalking is defined as “conduct directed toward a specific person that would lead a reasonable to fell fear.” Experts advise that when it comes to stalking, trust your instincts. If you feel you are in danger, you probably are. The majority of victims know their stalker: 61% of females and 44% of males know their stalker.
“Coming into the Family Safety Center I was very anxious and scared,” says Marcus. “However, immediately after I stepped through their doors and met the staff, I felt an overwhelming sense of acceptance, love, and most importantly I felt safe. The staff really left a lasting impact on my life.”
Click here for a Fact Sheet on stalking.