Men are increasingly victims of domestic violence, officials say

Published: Aug. 10, 2022 at 3:28 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - When you hear the words “domestic violence,” you likely think the victim is a woman. But, that’s not always the case. More and more, the victim, in Jefferson County, is a man.

It’s a fact coming to light after the conviction of Nicole Lacey, who killed her boyfriend, Jared Cook.

Cook’s sister, Jena, says there was a history of domestic violence in the relationship. Both were at fault at different times.

“They got into a fight where she got sent to the hospital, he’s gotten sent to the hospital. She’s head neck injuries, and he’s had stab wounds.”

Jena said she believed her brother and his girlfriend were in a dangerous situation.

“I just told them that they needed to do something different, otherwise one of them would end up dead,” said Jena.

Neither listened and in May 2018, Jena’s worst fear came true.

A Jefferson County jury determined Nicole Lacey intentionally ran over Cook with her car. He died from his injuries days later.

She was found guilty of first-degree manslaughter in May and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Now, Cook’s family wants people to know domestic violence goes both ways.

“Women can be the abusive ones too,” said Jena.

Victims Assistance Center Executive Director Jill Parker says being a victim of domestic violence is a problem that’s all too real for many men.

“Last year we did 156 orders of protection for men against an intimate partner,” she said.

The center responded with police to 70 domestic violence calls from male victims in 2021. Seven men found refuge in the center’s safe shelter.

Center officials say a man is on the other end of the phone needing help in 1 in every 5 calls they get.

“I do have to say the number is increasing each year,” said Parker.

Parker says domestic violence victims will leave their abuser seven times before breaking the cycle for good. But for Jared, and many other victims, they don’t get seven times.

“Death is ultimately the worst thing that can happen in a domestic situation,” said Parker.

Though Jared’s story ended tragically, his sister says it doesn’t always have to be that way.

“Just get away from them. It’s not worth it,” said Jena.

If you’re a victim of domestic violence, you can make that step by calling the Victims Assistance Center at 315-782-1855 or visiting thehotline.org.

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