published Saturday, March 15th, 2014

Student celebrates life after domestic violence

Ellie Shadrick tells her story as a victim of domestic violence and talks about the quilt she made to help comfort others before presenting it to the Partnership Crisis Center Friday.
Ellie Shadrick tells her story as a victim of domestic violence and talks about the quilt she made to help comfort others before presenting it to the Partnership Crisis Center Friday.
Photo by Tim Barber.

TO GET HELP

The crisis hotline number is 423-755-2700. It is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.

Ellie Shadrick presented her class project about domestic violence at the Partnership Crisis Resource Center and then started to cry. She didn’t just read about violence, the 18-year-old Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences senior lived it for 14 years.

“There is help,” she said.

The man she knew as dad since age 2 pulled the hair out of her head, dragged her down stairs and threw her against a wall. He called her mother vulgar names, broke her mother’s fingers and hit her mother in the head so hard that she has a permanent scar between her eyes.

But Shadrick, her two younger sisters and her mother survived. Now they’re telling their story to help others. She shared her story at the Partnership Crisis Center on Friday and made a quilt to encourage others involved in domestic violence that they can get out.

The quilt included advice and pictures from children affected by domestic violence. “Peace to people,” said one square, “Peace begins at home,” said another.

Andi Shadrick, mother of the girls, advises victims to establish a support system before they leave. Know where they plan to stay, and know where to find people who support them in their decision.

“Do your homework,” advised the mom. “Make a clean break because if you waver at all you could go back.”

For Andi Shadrick making a clean break meant she also had to break off contact with her daughter’s paternal grandparents.

It was two years ago that Shadrick came to the Crisis Center with her two sisters and mom when her sister’s father broke into their home and threatened to kill her mother and two sisters. Shadrick said she just happened not to be home. The family escaped to the center, but the father found out and drove by the building. They eventually had to relocate. He also followed Shadrick’s mother to her job, followed her when she tried to go on other dates and prevented them from attending the church of their choice.

Shadrick’s mother eventually pressed domestic violence charges against the father of her two daughters. He pleaded guilty to criminal trespass in 2012. The following year Shadrick’s mother landed a full-time job as an administrative assistant at the Chattanooga Area Food Bank that enables her to support her family. She has also enrolled in the University of Alabama where she is working toward her bachelor’s degree in nonprofit management.

For two years my family has been violence free, said Shadrick.

The partnership crisis hotline answers 10,000 calls a year. It assisted 1,416 people in 2013 escaping domestic violence situations. That number is hundreds more than in the past and it will probably increase as more people become aware that help is available to people in domestic violence, sexual assault and crisis situations.

The city is working to establish a family justice center where people will have a one-stop shop to assist those who are in crisis situations. City officials have said the justice center is important because domestic violence occurs evenly more frequently than gang violence that is more frequently reported in the news.

Contact staff writer Yolanda Putman at yputman@timesfreepress.com or call 423-757-6431.

about Yolanda Putman...

Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...

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