Allen Shelton touched his lower back, recalling a domestic violence dispute that led to his girlfriend cutting him with a knife and him living on the streets. Beneath the 51-year-old’s yellow shirt are scars from the incident.
“She cut me, she stabbed me, she hit me, and it led for me to defend myself,” he said. “A lot of people don’t understand that a woman can kill you if you allow her to so they defend themselves. The woman may have a weapon, but when the police get there, all they’re looking for are the bruises.”
“If they don’t see her with the knife, then you’re going to jail,” Shelton added. “They look at women as if they can’t cause men any harm.”
Though Shelton said he feels men receive more blame for domestic abuse, regardless of who started it – male or female – “violence is violence.” And though he admitted to defending himself and losing control in past relationships due to being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, Shelton insisted people don’t think about abuse in their spare time.
“Sometimes when you’re angry, you react too quickly,” he said. “Domestic abuse is about control and what you’re influenced with at the time. You know right from wrong, but when you’re both drunk or high, you’ve lost that control.”
Shelton is now under the care of Pastors David and Dianne Hones at the Joshua Achievement Center, a recovery program at 2016 W. Berks St. where the Bethlehem of Deliverance Church stands.
“When you’re abusing yourself, you’re abusing somebody else,” Shelton said. “You have to change your behavior.”
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