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Ride with officers in Duluth, MN, Baltimore, MD and the Bronx, NY.


Conversations with battered
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Men - Jesse

Duluth Men’s Group

A rough, long road

My father died when I was 14years old, of alcoholism. My mom lives in Duluth right now, she’s addicted to crack cocaine. It’s kind of a losing battle for her, but I still give her credit, you know, being my mom. My whole life’s been around violence. Everybody I know is either in prison or dead. I’ve been in and out of foster homes my whole life, since I was seven years old. I can remember that I’ve probably been in about 30, or 40 group homes, foster homes. It’s been a rough road, long road, no one’s really taught me anything but myself. What I learned from all this is, it makes me who I am today. I mean still a kid at heart, I feel sometimes because I never had a childhood.

Not proud of it

Before I met her I was never violent. But I’ve been violent to my past partners. And I was in a current, recent relationship that was five years. And I mean I was really, I was really mean to her. And she left me. She packed her stuff up at night and moved out. And then I kind of, I’m co dependent so I went on to this other girl and right away. I mean I had no time to heal. Came home drunk and got into words, I pushed her around. She was pregnant at the time. She pushed me, I pushed her, she tripped and fell. And I mean it’s not nothing I’m proud about. Because she was pregnant at the time so I mean it’s really hard to deal with you know, and hard to tell people. I don’t tell a lot of people. You know that that happened, because that’s not something that I would do. She fortunately, she forgave me. And she’s the biggest person for doing that. She’s the strongest person I’ve ever known. Now I’m here. I’m getting a lot out of this, a lot out of here now. I mean first few times I lied. You know so this time, it’s helping me out a lot and everything I stood for before contradicts who I am because I don’t believe in hitting on women or anything like that. I mean my mom, my dad never hit my mom. But my mom used to beat my dad. And I kind of see that her being violent, I just seen violence.
I mean it’s a kind of monkey see, monkey do. You know so I don’t know any better, I’m seven years old. You know so that’s, I do what I see.

Third time

It’s my third time, I mean I’ve seen guys come here about 12 times. I’m 25 now, I mean I’ve been through this stuff so much, mainly it was the drinking. I’m sober so I mean being sober helps out a lot. When I wasn’t sober I was constantly lying. I was dishonest you know, so this place, this place, didn’t help out, so I mean now that I’m being sober, it’s more of a, my eyes are opened. I don’t feel sick, I can see I just got tired of the routine. Constantly lying my life was unstable. I had a three year old at the time, he’s four now. I had no idea I was going to take care of him. You know I always had a job, but my money was always gone. You know, so I just got tired of the routine, and the life, and now that I’m doing alright. I’m meeting people that I actually like, so being honest is like one big thing that I look forward to. When I’m lying to myself I can’t really help anybody.

The man box

They talk about a man box, and it’s kind of how men are, and I never seen myself like that until they mentioned it. It’s basically I’m superior. I do what I want. Being disrespectful towards anybody I’ve never seen myself like that until I came here. It’s my third time. It took awhile to get it. But it’s only like an hour and a half class, but I mean every Thursday I look forward to coming here. You know, so, I mean something’s changed. I don’t say a lot in class. I absorb more than anything. So, I mean, topics range from, why are we violent? You know what makes us being violent? I mean majority of the time, we’re stumped on these questions. Because we don’t honestly want to look at ourselves, but someone does speak up. It gets everybody going so. I mean it’s, it helps out a lot, it’s been helping me out a lot.