Domestic violence survivor shedding light on local resources

NOW: Domestic violence survivor shedding light on local resources

LAGRANGE COUNTY, Ind., --- October is national Domestic Violence Awareness Month and a local domestic violence survivor is now working to spread the word about resources available in LaGrange County and across Michiana.

“Realizing that what happened to me wasn’t in vein and that I should use it to take forward and try and help somebody else out of that situation,” said Sheli Emenhiser, the Founder & President of the local organization Crushed But Not Broken, a domestic violence shelter for women and children.

Emenhiser is a domestic violence survivor who left an abusive relationship years ago.

At the time she said she she noticed there weren’t many resources available in the area, which is why she acted.

“There is one other shelter in Lagrange County, but it was always busy and full too, so I just felt like there just needed to be more resources,” explained Emenhiser. “Crushed But Not Broken is an organization that I started in 2017. It is a domestic violence shelter for women and children. I’ve also had men that have contacted me and I find organizations that can help them as well.”

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Domestic Violence deaths in Indiana jumped 180% at the start of the pandemic, with more than 42% of Hoosier women and nearly 28% of Hoosier men expected to experience some form of violence and/or stalking in their lifetime at the hands of an intimate partner.

With Emenhiser and some Michiana police departments still seeing higher numbers now, officers said it’s important to help connect victims to these kinds of local resources when they respond to a call.

“We saw a spike with domestic violence in the pandemic and we’re seeing that continue maybe not as often, but we’ve seen that increase of violence,” said Captain Jason Biggs with South Bend Police Department’s Detective Bureau. “So, our officers are responding to those calls working with those families to try and find the best outcome possible.”

As Domestic Violence Awareness takes the national spotlight this month, Emenhiser said it’s crucial especially now to highlight hope and resources that will help survivors get back on their feet once again.

“It’s just huge if you're leaving in the middle of the night like I did with $30 in your pocket, and you have nowhere to go,” she said.  “Once the women get here a lot of times, they don’t have a job, or insurance, or food to buy groceries. So, I’ll help them get established if they need food stamps or Medicare or Medicaid and then we start the healing process because it’s very important to heal from domestic violence.”

Emenhiser also helps provide survivors with finding a job, an apartment, and even counseling once a week to start that healing journey

She estimates she’s served nearly 100 women, including some who’ve come from outside Indiana in the last few years.

Crushed But Not Broken is a Christian-based organization that runs solely on donations.

If you’d like to donate or want more information on resources available at the organization, click here.

To find resources available near you in Indiana,  click here.

To find help in Michigan you can contact the state’s new free and confidential hotline, 24/7/365,by calling 866-864-2338, texting 877-861-0222, or chat online by clicking here.

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