Written by Rain Galetka, Transfiguration Communications Assistant

Located in the heart of Dallas, Genesis Women’s Shelter provides support and shelter for local women and children who have faced and are facing domestic violence.

Genesis’ impact reaches deep into our neighborhoods. With all of the incredible work they do, you’d be right to assume there are plenty of volunteer opportunities to be filled. When asked about volunteering for the organization, Transfiguration parishioner and long-time volunteer Christopher Ray said, “It is a very effective way for parishioners to have a personal, immediate outreach impact by helping people in need and sowing seeds of love and kindness in our community.” Volunteer opportunities range from individual to group, flexible to scheduled, and hands-on to indirect activities. Individuals can choose an activity they feel passionate about such as serving meals, creating birthday kits for clients, helping with annual events, monitoring the proceedings at protective order court, or providing childcare. Genesis provides remarkable services for women and children fleeing domestic violence, and there is always a way to give back to the community by helping Genesis assists others.

Local Dallasites volunteer in downtown.

Their passion also extends to spreading awareness of the causes, frequency, and impacts of domestic violence. By shining a light on domestic violence, Genesis believes more women will be helped. When asked about the organization, Ray said, “I have been so impressed by the Genesis staff, for their sincere and tireless dedication to the cause (of helping domestic violence victims and seeking to end domestic violence in our community). They are inspiring and very fulfilling to work with.” Volunteers are undoubtedly important to the shelter’s efforts as the organization vows to continue in their pursuits until all women and children are safe in their homes.

In addition to providing women and children with safety and support, Genesis has made it their mission to share the message that there is help and hope for every woman experiencing abuse. Ray said, “Domestic violence is problematic not just because of the immediate direct harm but also because of the lasting damage and ripple effects, including ongoing cycles of generational violence and other social issues.” As a result, the shelter strives to spread awareness that domestic violence can affect women of any race, age, religion, or socioeconomic status. According to the Domestic Violence Hotline, one in three women in the United States have been a victim of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner, and one in four women in the United States have experienced severe physical violence by a partner during their lifetime. Additionally, up to 60 percent of perpetrators of domestic violence also abuse children in the household.[1]

October is Domestic Violence Awareness month and Transfiguration’s Outreach Spotlight is on our parish partnership with Genesis Women’s Shelter. Genesis offers help and hope to women and their children who are seeking an escape from lives of abuse. Visit the table in the Tower Cloister or click here to learn how you can help. Gift cards and wish-list items will be collected through October 27.

According to the Domestic Violence Task Force Annual Report, “Over the past 4 years, [the Dallas Police Department (DPD)] has filed 15,750 family violence cases. [The] 2017–18 reporting cycle accounts for 4,379 cases, the most filed in any of the four reporting cycles. This represents a 24% increase from the 3,527 cases filed during the previous 12 months. In fact, the 2017–18 reporting cycle includes the three highest monthly totals since this report began.” Furthermore, the report found that “The average monthly number of victims in emergency shelters was 332 in the 2017–18 reporting cycle. This represents a robust 35% increase from the previous year’s monthly average of 246 victims, or 86 additional victims per month in 2017–18.”[2] These statistics illustrate the prevalence of domestic violence in the United States and the importance of organizations like Genesis in our community. Incredibly, the shelter assisted over 3,700 women and children last year, and the tremendous need for their services continues.

Local volunteers serving at Genesis.

Unfortunately, the existence of domestic violence in Dallas is not a new phenomenon. Genesis first began as a part of the Shelter Ministries of Dallas in 1984 when they recognized a tremendous need in Dallas-Fort Worth for shelters for women and children fleeing domestic violence. They understood that unique shelters were needed for individuals in this situation. Seeing this, they opened a small facility with seven emergency beds in 1986. With the help of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas and First Presbyterian Church of Dallas, they were able to expand in 1987. At this point, the shelters remained at full capacity with a full waitlist. They built an additional wing, but this too reached full capacity upon opening. Clearly, Genesis has had a long-standing passion for providing safety and shelter to women and children and spreading awareness of domestic violence. With a variety of individual and group volunteer opportunities at Genesis, you too can give your time to help those in need.

Genesis Women’s Shelter is comprised of 42 emergency shelter beds, Annie’s House, The Simmons School, outreach counseling, on-site daycare, administrative offices, and the Benefit Thrift Store. Since 1988, they have offered a multitude of services in order to further assist their clients including individual, group, and children’s therapy programs, a 24-hour crisis hotline, professional casework, and parenting classes. However, they did not stop there. Because GWS recognized the need for some clients to extend their stay beyond the emergency shelter, Annie’s House was built in 1995 to provide 12-month transitional housing to women in need. Later, the Simmons School opened on the safe campus in 2008 to provide an alternative education option for children in the shelter. The school allows the children to remain on the safe campus while staying on track with their education. In addition, The Genesis Outreach Office expanded in 1994 to offer its counseling services to all women in the community. Click here to learn more about this amazing organization.

 

[1] National Domestic Violence Hotline. (2019). Get the Facts & Figures. Retrieved from https://www.thehotline.org/resources/statistics/

[2] The Institute for Urban Policy Research at The University of Texas at Dallas. (2018). Domestic Violence Task Force Annual Report. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/2qfAMo2

 

Photos courtesy of the GWS Instagram @genesiswomensshelter