Only men’s refuge in the country closed
In the NZ Herald on Saturday:
No refuge for battered male victims
By Simon Collins
The Separated Fathers Support Trust ran the four-bedroom refuge, officially a men’s “retreat house”, in Manurewa from December 2002 until May, when the manager, Warren Heap, became paralysed with the rare nerve disorder Guillain-Barre Syndrome.
Heap says the refuge was always full, and for a while had a caravan as well. In all, 51 men and 71 of their children stayed in the house for up to three months. Some of the men were escaping physical abuse, in a way comparable to women’s refuges. One had knife wounds “all up his arms”, inflicted by a partner who was a drug addict. “There were quite a few that were knifed,” Heap says.
I’m sorry to hear that Warren has been laid low by ill-health, and I’m sad that the “retreat house” has had to close. I first met Warren in January 98 when a group of volunteers from Men’s Centre North Shore went to help move furniture into his first men’s refuge in Glen Eden
Since then he has battled, in the face of what would seem to most people insurmountable obstacles, to provide a service a for men which we all know is desperately needed.
My guess is that being the man he is, Warren will find some less stressful and time-consuming role to play in the men’s movement. Hopefully he will get to spend a whole lot more time just enjoying being Dad with his own children!
I wish you all the best, mate!