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Shelter: (605) 996-2765 Hotline: (605) 996-4440 Visitation Center: 605-996-8880

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Testimonials

Lori's Story

I grew up in an abusive home. My father was an alcoholic and knocked my Mom around my whole life. When I was about seven years old, I went camping with my Mom, Dad, and three older brothers who decided to rape me. It took about five years for me to remember that horrific day. I remembered when my oldest brother came to my room and tried to rape me again but I was able to fight him off. When I was about six or seven we had a dog that one of my brothers and I were to be responsible for her. When she got pregnant and had puppies Dad blamed it on us. Most of the time he would make us snap the puppies necks, it was horrible. I remember being stood in front of the same wall on Friday and Saturday with my youngest brother as my Dad used us as his punching bag.

I was married at sixteen and had three kids by the time I was twenty. My husband was also an alcoholic and verbally abusive and the marriage ended after six years. I fell right into the arms of my second husband who also was an alcoholic and very verbally and physically abusive. That relationship lasted twenty three years till about three years ago. I told him he had to choose me or his alcohol, well he didn't choose me. It was one of the worst days in my life. I was numb and had no idea what I was going to do. He was my life. I stumbled through life for a year and a half till I ran into an old friend and we decided to have a relationship. I moved in with him and it took about two months for me to realize he was an alcoholic and a meth user.

I was trying to find my own place with no luck and one night he came up behind me and stuck a gun to my head and said he should shoot me. I stood up and walked away the next morning I gathered as many of my things as I could fit in my car and never looked back. ! had very litt!e money and gas so I called the Mitchell Area Safehouse and they had room for me to stay. The Mitchell Area Safehouse helped me with all kinds of resources. I found a job in the first week and in two weeks I found an apartment. The Safehouse continues to support me in every way they can.

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship always know that no matter how broken or displaced you are there are ways out. I am living proof of that. I continue to be an advocate for the Mitchell Safehouse. Always remember no matter how lost and broken you feel self matters!


Interview with shelter resident

What helped me?
Almost a year ago I was once again in a relationship that was turning abusive. I had to make some very fast and important decisions. I called the hotline at Mitchell Area Safehouse and explained the situation. Next thing I knew I had a place to stay and a possible future without an abusive person in my life. The next day I moved into the Safehouse and had help to move some of my things. I was amazed at that. I had totally forgot that there were people that were willing to help you in any way that they could and didn’t judge you. The Safehouse helped me find my own place to live and assistance in doing that. I would never of been able to do that on my own. I have a history of abuse for the last 30 years. This was the first time that I actually was able to completely break away from that endless cycle. The constant compassion that I received from the staff was fantastic. Each obstacle that I found myself in, they were able to help me find a solution.

How did you find compassion and safety?
Everyday there was someone to listen to me and help me think clearly. As it is anytime that someone leaves an abusive situation there are all kind of situations that come up. In this case, my abuser was contacting my friends and began harassing them. He had left me alone, but was still abusing me through third parties. I was able to talk to staff anytime about this and kept being reassured that none of it was my fault. In abusive relationships you are always told how everything is your fault. The staff, helped me through this by listening and telling me I had options and what I could do. I always felt safe. The security at the Safehouse is very important. I needed to be protected and that is exactly how I felt.

How did I find recovery through advocacy?
Recovery? Recovering is the better word. I found out that I could recover from the 30 years of domestic violence. The support and compassion that I received through the Safehouse gave me direction how to find recovery. Each day I am recovering and now I have the support of the Mitchell Area Safehouse to help me whenever I need anything. The biggest factor preventing you from recovering from domestic violence is that you feel alone. I now know that it is not true and very grateful for making that initial phone call.


Handwritten Testimonial

A very special thanks to the Mitchell Area Safehouse. Words could never express the respect, gratitude and thanks I have for you. I can’t believe it has been over a year that I have gone to your support group for abused women. One year ago my 2 children & I left the 14 year abusive relationship with my husband and stayed at the Shelter. It was not easy for me as I had no idea what to expect on how my kids, husband, family or community would react. But the day we came I felt such an unbelievable amount of Love, Concern & Security with a real home atmosphere.

I knew the road ahead of me was going to be long and uncertain. But you helped me sort thru my feelings, was always there for me when I was scared or in doubt. Helped me with the necessary steps needed to go on with my life. Let me be my own person. Helped me regain some of my self-esteem. To be more open instead of holding everything inside. To realize the kids and I can make it on our own, if we so choose. All the things I was told for so long was not possible, you helped make possible. You made the kids & I feel very special, made us feel like family. You never made us feel like just another caseload. But real people with real feelings.

I feel as though God placed you there to be our own personal Guardian Angels, to help guide us and make our own decisions. I could never repay you for all that you have done for us and continue to do so. The weekly support group still means so much to the kids and I, as sometimes in everyday life whether it be schoolmates, friends, family, relationships we still tend to allow people to hurt us or take advantage of us. But the weekly sharing with one another & supporting each other gives us confidence to go on with our life.

Former Shelter Resident
Support Group Participant


Handwritten Testimonial

An abuser is controlling--makes you feel like you are not worth anything. You can’t do anything right and puts enough fear into you that it makes it hard to leave. A lot of time leaving is not something you can do on your own, because you don’t feel strong enough or you are afraid of what he might do.

That is why we need to make our police officers and public more aware of how an abuser thinks and also acts and what help is available, or where to go to get help.

I am so grateful to be able to come to the Safehouse. The staff are very caring women that know that things are not going to be all right over night but that you are beginning a healing that is going to take some time. They are there to help you with your needs in a safe place, so you are not in danger as you are starting to build a new life.

The information and support you get from the staff is outstanding. It is so great to have a place to go to be safe, where the staff knows what your opinions are and can help you achieve your goals.

Shelter Resident


I am not a person who is easy to get to know and understand.
          I need to let go…I won’t be accepted by everyone that I’d wish would.

I am emotionally complex and extremely sensitive but disinclined to show it.
          I need to let go…and not hide the feeling that flood my mind.

I have been hurt and I’m cautious and mistrustful.
          I need to let go…and risk that I can still live being hurt and trust again.

I have strong gut reactions, and believe that I am correct most of the time.
          I need to let go…and laugh at my beliefs most of the time.

I have difficulty expressing why I feel as I do and defending my positions.
          I need to let go…and learn to communicate and not blame.

I have a powerful need for deep emotional involvement from those I love.
          I need to let go…and accept love is a two way street and I don’t drive both cars.

I am possessive and jealous of anyone or anything that I perceive as a threat to me.
          I need to let go…and realize I can’t have it my way when it’s not my call.

I expect complete loyalty in my relationships.
          I need to let go…and realize my expectations are just that.

Separation is extremely painful for me, and often stormy and nasty.
          I need to let go…and learn to live alone and fight the nasty demon inside.

I am not inclined to turn the other cheek and retaliate if at all possible.
          I need to let go…and learn to not carry on a lost fight or continue a war that’s over.

I don’t forget an injury and harbor grievances and resentments for a long, long time.
          I need to let go…I need to learn the value of not living in bitter yesterdays.

Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to me.

Former Batterer
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project

Shelter: (605) 996-2765  •  Hotline: (605) 996-4440  •  Visitation Center: 605-996-8880

Mitchell Area Safehouse and Family Visitation Center
1809 North Wisconsin, Mitchell, South Dakota 57301