Elkhart, IN - 46515
(574) 294-1811
Fax Number: (574) 294-1259

YWCA Safe Haven

Domestic violence shelter for women.

Donated items can be dropped off at the iFiT office at 101 E Hively Ave, Elkhart, IN 46517.

The Elkhart County Women's Shelter (ECWS) is the only domestic violence shelter in Elkhart County.

One of the largest programs of iFiT, the ECWS serves nearly 400 women and children annually.

The 40 bed shelter is open 24 hours a day, 365 days per year to provide crisis intervention and safe shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

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  • User   2019-05-16 13:28:06

    Hi, I was in an abusive relationship for a few years and I would like to volunteer to help any way I could. I haven't been able to talk about it for a year since i left the relationship until recently. Here is a post I just made explaining some of my story. I'm going to go out on a tangent here and I do not apologize for it. It is very irritating seeing people talk down about women staying in abusive and controlling relationships. For starters, if you haven't been in that situation you have no right to judge. I spent 3 years in a relationship that left me empty, depressed, and lifeless. But it didn't start out that way. I had fallen in love with him before things started spiraling downhill. I stayed through the bruising all over my body, black eyes, getting my phones(plural) shattered and scraped against my face until the broke glass caused blood to be everywhere, multiple broken bones, and thousands of dollars of hospital bills. I stayed the times I just wanted to stop fighting so I would try to sleep and get kicked so hard I'd be in tears. I stayed when I got a lit cigarette literally rubbed until it was completely put out on my chest because I wanted to walk away. I stayed when I got slapped so hard in the chest I had a red mark for a day that turned to a bruise for a week in the shape of his handprint because I didn't want to take money to his mom on a Saturday morning instead of him. I stayed when I got held down with a whole bottle of antidepressants getting shoved in my throat with a hand covering my mouth so I couldn't spit them out, and getting told he would laugh watching me die. I puked them up for a half hour and slept for 3 -4 days straight after that. I stayed through getting pulled by my hair and having my cloths getting ripped off while he tried throwing me outside in the snow without cloths, keys, or my phone. I stayed when he had me down in the closet holding ,not one but two, knives that he spent hours sharpening held against me saying he was going to kill me, then himself. I stayed when he left me in a ditch bloody from not being able to walk after leaving a bar in Nebraska because he thought i had drank more then one beer when In fact I didn't. I still have both knees scarred from it. I stayed when I sat all day and night in the hospital losing our baby in Nebraska with no family or friends while he was a half mile down the road at the bar. And when I got back crying, he told me to toughen up. I stayed even though I was so isolated from everyone I love. I stayed when he told me to grow up when I was crying that my grandfather was dying. I stayed all the times he told me I wasn't pretty enough, intelligent enough, or deserving of love. It wasn't because I enjoyed any of this. I felt like I didn't have much of a choice. When all of the mental abuse started I stayed because I loved him and no one enjoys walking away from someone they care about. I was living out of state, and he was all I felt I had. Later on, I felt like I had been through so much I didn't deserve to walk away and have all that wasted time after all the work I put into. Then i feared leaving him. He threatened anything you could think of if I left. His relatives told me that they were scared for me, and I had told them that I knew who I was with. I might've been blind at the beginning, but I wasn't naive anymore. I just had to find a way out. It took me laying in bed one morning just waking up for me to realize it wasn't just me getting grabbed too hard anymore. He was standing in the mirror getting ready, and he looked at me and said with a blank cold face that I can still picture in my mind like it was yesterday "I was watching tv last night and I kept thinking how I wanted to come back there and stab you." I still was laying there, hadn't said a word, and was terrified of the person I was spending my life with. The nights I could fall asleep after that I always slept facing him. I didn't ever have my back towards him again. Last Easter is when I finally said I had to leave for good. I was at my moms which I wasn't "allowed" to be. And my mom started crying telling me how she hates him because she has needed me and he wouldn't let me come around. It broke my heart and made me realize how much I had let him destroy my life. All night I looked online for places to live. I had to do all the leaving without him knowing. And when I was gone, he followed through on some of the threats. He messaged my family, friends, my work, called the cops on me about things that were so far from the truth, made posts all over social media, found out and showed up where I lived, and sent me thousands of threats. It went on until he went to jail for awhile, I got a restraining order but still to this day, over a year later, I still get spontaneous hateful messages. Everything has caused me to have PTSD. A week ago I was laying in bed, both me and my cats heard a nose that made us sit up in bed. I looked at my phone and had 2 unkind messages from him. I still have that fear of him I did back then. Every night I sleep with a loaded 38 special next to my bed, and nights that are the worse for me I take it out of its case and lay it beside my hand. People think of women in an abusive relationship as weak and pathetic. At the time I thought the same about myself. But I got up everyday, faced my own personal hell, and still did what I had to do to make it through. My depression was nothing like I have ever felt. Nobody knows what someone goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically on a daily basis. And how bad it can be inside closed doors. I currently go to work, school, live by myself, and have my online business but looking back the strongest moments of my life were just making it through every single day back then. I hadn't planned any of that in my life. My ex had been diagnosed with schizophrenia towards the end of our relationship. Schizophrenia caused anger, aggression, paranoia, and psychosis which is not being able to grasp what was real and imagined. After I left him and he got arrested he also got diagnosed with another mental illness. Being a Sociopath. Aka antisocial personality disorder. Sociopaths are very good liars and excellent at hiding their true self, have charm, and are manipulative. Once they get someone they crave enslavement and control. I didn't really understand what the word sociopath meant until lots of research. A sociopath is incapable of love, has no conscious, guilt, or empathy. I fell in love with someone who didn't exist, the person who he wanted me to think he was. I wasn't dumb or stupid. I loved, was committed, and trusted in the wrong person. This post is very hard and embarrassing for me write. With that being said I don't want any negative comments or any saying I should've done something different. I did the best I felt I could do then. I'm writing this because I remember how it felt seeing posts or getting comments from people that made me feel like I was to blame for staying. Abuse is a very real thing for many women, and wether it takes the first or five hundredth incident to leave it's never the victims fault.

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