HOLDEN BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- A Brunswick County man who claims he was abused is speaking out on behalf of all men who fall prey to domestic violence.
Mike Elks's front door is barely hanging on, and he says it's because his girlfriend busted through it Thursday night and punched him in the eye.
"I feel kind of stupid standing here on TV with a black eye 'cause a woman beat me up, but it needs to be taken care of," Elks said.
Elks said his black eye is from the fist of his ex-girlfriend, who he dated for three years. He said it's the first time she had ever hit him.
"I asked her to please leave. She was in one of her moods," Elks said. "I put her outside, and she come through the door, and that's when this happened."
He claims he doesn't know what exactly he did to provoke the hit, but he does know one thing: he believes there needs to be a shelter for men who fall victim to domestic abuse. Elks said when the police came to take his abuser away, they gave him a packet that contained information geared mostly toward women.
Director of Hope Harbor Home Domestic Violence Shelter in Brunswick County Lynn Carlson said there are resources for men, but they are not as advertised, because most abuse calls do come from women.
"Hope Harbor Home generally has about one request for help for men for about every 120 requests that we have for help for a woman," Carlson said. "There is a stigma among men about asking for help, and there's a shame attached that we wish weren't there."
Carlson said everyone has a right to feel safe. She said Hope Harbor Home, like most shelters in the area, do not allow men to live on site, but they can help abused men get to a safe place and also provide legal help.
"Assault is a crime," Carlson said. "No matter who assaults who, it's still a crime. It's still a violent crime, and it's not OK."
Carlson added that an assessment is done when a man calls for help, because some men are actually abusers just looking for their victims.
Elks said his abuse was very real, and he thinks there are other male victims who also need help.
"There needs to be a place where a man can go to get away, because a man is not allowed to hit a woman," Elks said. "It's just something that needs to be done, a situation that needs to be taken care of."
If you are a victim of domestic violence and need help, contact police immediately.