Emiliano’s story begins in the capital city of Austin, Texas. It was here that he first became intimately familiar with the cycle of violence so much so that he was trapped in the middle of it. After being an eyewitness to domestic violence for so long, Emiliano became a perpetrator of teen dating violence. With the help of a young men’s support group at his local high school, however, Emiliano was able to break free from this vicious cycle.
A few years later, Emiliano went to work for SafePlace, the very agency that had sponsored his high school support group. He became the first male Children’s Advocate to work at their battered family shelter, and as such, he was able to amend some of the misconceptions that the women and children had about men by building nonviolent, respectful relationships with them. Through this work, Emiliano saw first-hand the profound impact – both positive and negative – that men have on victims of domestic violence, and he wanted to ensure that more men chose to heal, rather than hurt.
In 2001, upon moving to Harlingen, Texas with his wife, Emiliano was afforded the opportunity to work as a Children’s Advocate and later the Volunteer Coordinator at Family Crisis Center, the local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault center. Although he continued working in the movement, Emiliano was determined to pursue his dream of developing a support system for men, knowing full-well the difference it can make in a man’s life.
Inspired by his experiences in the SafePlace support group and recognizing the need to engage men to join the work of ending intimate partner violence, Emiliano founded the Men’s Resource Center of South Texas, the first organization of its kind in the area. The center, which operated from 2003-2008, provided support groups to men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as countless workshops and trainings about healthy masculinity. As its founder, Emiliano also shared his voice through local media with a monthly column that focused on the role that men play in ending domestic and sexual violence.
Back in the Austin area since 2008, Emiliano has been working as a Men’s Engagement Specialist at the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA), providing training and technical assistance on sexual violence primary prevention to rape crisis centers across the state. Emiliano’s work at TAASA, coupled with his past experiences and his charisma, have led to frequent invitations to speak and/or provide training at universities, conferences, and community events locally and throughout the country.
It has been over 15 years since Emiliano freed himself from the destructive cycle of violence and began a new cycle that revolves around being a gentle man by serving as a mentor who inspires younger men in the movement, an ally who works alongside women as they work tirelessly to support survivors of intimate partner violence, and a father who strives to be a role model for his son, Joaquin.