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
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
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.
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
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.
I am not a person who is easy to get to know and understand.
need to let go…I won’t be accepted by everyone that I’d
I am emotionally complex and extremely sensitive but
disinclined to show it.
need to let go…and not hide the feeling that flood my mind.
I have been hurt and I’m cautious and mistrustful.
need to let go…and risk that I can still live being hurt and
I have strong gut reactions, and believe that I am correct
most of the time.
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.
need to let go…and learn to communicate and not blame.
I have a powerful need for deep emotional involvement
from those I love.
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.
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.
need to let go…and realize my expectations are just that.
Separation is extremely painful for me, and often stormy
need to let go…and learn to live alone and fight the nasty demon
I am not inclined to turn the other cheek and retaliate
if at all possible.
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.
need to let go…I need to learn the value of not living in bitter
Forgiveness doesn’t come easily to me.
Domestic Abuse Intervention Project