Military Secret

Hundreds Of Thousands Of Men Fall Victim To Domestic Abuse

His house is equipped with a high-tech alarm system. But Jerry Miranda, a 28-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, still does not feel safe.

The source of his fear is Hassania Miranda, his wife of more than 20 years.

Jerry Miranda is part of a largely hidden group in domestic violence - the male victim. "It's really embarrassing," he says. "I don't want people at work to know I have these kinds of problems."

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"She would give everybody the impression she was this kindhearted down-to-earth person. Everybody would enjoy her parties," he recalls. "But then she would come home, the door would close, and her personality would change."

Hassania Miranda had a fierce temper fueled by drinking, he says. She would not only abuse Jerry, but their two sons Alex and Joe. "I have memories of my mother stabbing my brother, going after my brother with a knife," says Alex.

Jerry Miranda was afraid that if he left his wife he would lose custody of his sons. And, he says, his military status kept him taking his children and fleeing the relationship: "That's called desertion."

Jerry Miranda finally found the strength to sever ties with his wife. But on May 4, 1999, four months after he had filed for divorce, his wife broke into his house. He came home to find it ransacked. There were bullets all over the house. When police finally picked up Hassania Miranda, they found a fully loaded semi-automatic handgun in her pocket.

She was arrested and taken to jail but just six hours later she had posted bail and was out again. From jail she went to the Air Force Academy, where Jerry Miranda works, and attacked him with a knife.

"Then the knife comes down very hard, it gets me once in the back," he recalled. "And it kind of...luckily it hit the bone."

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Jerry Miranda's story is not as uncommon as you might think. According to the Department of Justice, at least 800,000 men every year suffer from domestic abuse.

"I think the issue of shame and embarrassment for men is compounded incredibly. By the simple fact that they are men," says Janet Kerr, head of the Colorado Springs Domestic Violence Center.

"There's a cultural expectation they're suppose to be the strong ones in our culture," she adds. "But if anything, it's sort of more acceptable for them to be the perpetrators than to be the victims."

Hassania is currently considering a plea bargain. If she pleads guilty to lesser charges, she could serve as little as 120 days in jail.

Jerry Miranda is still constantly on guard - fearing another attack from his estranged wife. "When I leave the house, I take the gun with me," he says. "If I go in the yard I take the gun. If I go to the mall I take the gun."

He says he will never feel safe from Hassania Miranda: "It'll never be over, never. This will never be over."

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