Helping men relearn love

Dominique Waltower

For Dominique Waltower, now is the time to tackle the subject of domestic violence.

Waltower founded nonprofit Inspire Perspective in 2018 to teach men to do the work necessary to change behaviors, learn how to cope with mental and emotional stressors and manage anger. As a child victim, domestic violence is rooted in Waltower’s life. It has grown into finding purpose to be a resource of healing and inspiration to men who may not have the knowledge or tools to heal themselves.

Today, Waltower teaches men and organizations primarily composed of men including local military on difficult topics around men’s health and violence prevention. He aims to make an impact in the community to break abusive cycles and start hard conversations that should no longer be taboo. Although Waltower spends much time working locally, since founding Inspire Perspective, his reach has grown to an international audience.

Waltower said the reason for bringing this topic to the forefront is because of his personal history with domestic violence.

“I grew up in an environment where domestic violence was present in my home,” he said.

“So, when I became an adult, I had some of the behaviors that I saw while growing up. I became toxic. I became abusive myself. After that relationship ended, I had to take a really long and hard look at myself and find out how I got here. I was very curious as to, what happened.”

That is when Waltower began doing research on his own behavior. He recognized the patterns of behavior that he picked up as a child and exhibited as an adult.

“That meant I started going to therapy after my divorce,” he said. “Through therapy, individual and group counseling, I started to discover more about myself. I was really hungry to find out what was wrong with me. I knew this was not normal. I knew that my behavior was not normal, and I knew that it was not okay. But I did not know how to change, and I did not know what to do.”

Waltower said his journey of counseling and therapy lasted for over three years, going to several different organizations trying to find help. After this journey, he realized that he needed to go out and talk about it to others.

“I contacted San Diego Domestic Violence Council. I told them my story. They were not used to hearing this from my perspective. Someone who had actually been abusive,” he said. “Nonetheless, they invited me to speak at an event. I went to that event. I spoke at that event, and I was overwhelmed by the response. They let me know that they never hear this side because men do not speak about growing up and what happened to them. They were very appreciative of it. I was appreciative to have a platform to try to make a difference. One event led to another, so for about three years, I was doing this out of passion.”

Waltower was told that he had to turn his passion into an official organization because people needed to hear his message.

“I never thought about it that way. I was just really happy to be able to help,” adding that after thinking about it, he would like to make this a fulltime career. So, he began the transition of quitting his day job and opening Inspire Perspective. “The purpose is intervention and prevention of domestic violence. I work with those who cause harm, those offenders who are causing harm to their families and themselves. And I work in the prevention arena as well.”

Waltower said this journey has led him to many places. Now he is a contractor with the U.S. Marine Corps, with UC Davis, and has spoken in numerous events from small training to large crowds of 5,000.

“In those events I am sharing my story of my childhood, what happened in my adult life, and my abusive behaviors. Then I am sharing my journey of accountability and healing. Accountability must accompany healing,” he said. “This is a very personal mission to me. I absolutely love what I do. I am grateful to be in this space.”

Waltower said he was recently contacted by a man in Baltimore, Maryland who was in his situation and involved in the court system.

“I started coaching him on where to find help,” he said. “Oftentimes, those who are causing harm, they do not know what to do. They do not know where to find help. I helped him through that process. He found me through my website. I will definitely respond to anyone who reaches out to me because I know when someone is reaching out for help, they are in a space where they are ready for change.”

Waltower said along with his appearances, he has many that reach out directly to him.
“Sometimes it is word of mouth. Sometimes it is at a presentation. There are multiple ways people can reach out to me, but the main way is through my website,” he said.

Waltower said he believes that he would not be here today if he had not gotten help. He said men have the highest suicide rates.

“We have severe mental health issues that we never address because of how we are socialized,” he said. “We are socialized to handle it, man up, take matters into our own hands. This life is not meant to journey alone. We need help. And it is okay to get help.”

“Denial is a big part of it,” he continued. “Because we do not want to face it. When I first came into the light so to speak, I did not want to face this either. I did not want to face who I was. It is very difficult to look in that mirror and say, ‘I am a problem. I am an issue. I have an issue.’ So, I help men and women understand what the issues are they are dealing with and how it is affecting their lives.”

Waltower said most of the people he works with love their families, but they just do not know how to love them.

“I learned the abusive way to love. I did not know was not actually love. So, I had to unlearn what I had learned, and relearn. Please reach out to me, or anyone else, local organizations where you are, find the right therapist and start working on yourself. I want you to go to the university of you. I tell everyone that I now have a PhD in me. I am aware of my strengths. I am aware of my weaknesses. That is almost a superpower when you become self-aware,” he said.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, approximately 17,000 domestic violence incidents are reported to law enforcement each year in San Diego County.