By MADISON WILLIAMS
The Dallas Examiner
Approximately 4 out of every 10 Black women (43.7%) have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
In order to better meet the needs of underserved survivors – specifically Black women – the Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support recently opened a new non-residential facility in the Southern Sector.
For more than 35 years, the Genesis Shelter has provided emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, child care, legal services and more to women and children facing domestic abuse. Its mission has been to support women who have experienced domestic violence and to raise awareness regarding its cause, prevalence and impact.
In 1984, an organization providing emergency services to victims of domestic violence called the Shelter Ministries of Dallas, became aware of the need for a safe place for victims in the surrounding communities.
The demand for additional resources continued to be greater than the supply and women were not able to stay at shelters long enough to get them back on their feet. Consequently, in 1985, the Genesis Shelter was opened in consortium with Shelter Ministries, to provide victims of abuse a safe way out. The need for the services the shelter provided was so great that the facility operated on full capacity along with a full waitlist.
Through donations, the organization continued to grow with the help of the Dallas community, and soon built transitional housing on their safe campus where families can stay for up to a year. All services are confidential and provided at no cost.
Only a small percentage of the battered population who flee their abusers seek out emergency shelter, but still need access to the information, counseling, advocacy and legal services provided by the shelter. The non-residential counseling space on 4411 Lemmon Ave. provides services to women and children in need regardless of housing status.
“We know that moms cannot get going on the next venture of their life if they don’t have help with children, so we also have a daycare at both locations along with a school where children go to learn, play and be safe,” said Jan Langbein, CEO of the Genesis Shelter.
As an additional service, the Benefit Thrift Store on Lemmon Ave. allows women to shop for whatever they need at no cost. The store has gently used clothing for men, women and children, as well as household items and furniture. It accepts donations of all gently used items and 100% of proceeds go directly to the shelter.
Genesis’ new facility
“Domestic violence is an equal opportunity epidemic. It knows no boundaries. The common threat that I can find among all women who come to us, is that they’ve been in a relationship with an abusive partner,” Langbein explained.
Black women are assaulted 35% more than White women in Dallas and across the country, however, they do not make up the 35% more of a demographic that request services, according to the Genesis Shelter.
“Rather than expecting people to come to us, this is our first time to reach out into the community,” Langbein said.
The new satellite location unveiling this fall at 5020 S. Lancaster Road, is a redesigned auto parts store with about 7,300 square-feet for the shelter’s second thrift store, a daycare and several offices for counseling and legal services.
Anyone needing to seek services offered by the shelter can call or text at 214-946-HELP (4357) or visit https://www.genesisshelter.org. The website also provides an escape button that allows the user to quickly click off of the site without leaving a digital trail.
“Because the very foundation of domestic violence is based on power and control, until we break the chains of violence in the home, there can be no equity in the community,” Langbein said. “We are committed to providing a safe space, and it is our hope that by opening the new Lancaster office, we will better meet the needs of underserved survivors – and specifically Black women – in the DFW Metroplex.”
The National Domestic Violence Hotline was founded in 1996, serving the entire U.S. and all its territories. It is the only 24/7 hotline dedicated to those who are affected by relationship abuse.
The hotline services strive to meet survivors where they were no matter where they are located, no matter what technology they have or what language they speak.
Due to the partnership Macy’s made with the hotline they’ve been able to fund new initiatives in support of women and children in need.
Macy’s funded the text enabling services so that individuals in need can text START to 88788 and they will be connected with a live advocate through text. This is an alternative for women who do not feel safe enough to reach out over the phone.
The Hotline works closely with Genesis to connect local callers to the shelter and the services they provide. In 2020, advocates provided 132,898 referrals to shelter and domestic violence service providers and 140,562 referrals to additional resources across the nation, according to its 2020 impact report.
The hotline is available by phone at 800-799-SAFE or anyone looking for services or visit https://www.thehotline.org for more information.
Crystal Justice, chief external affairs officer of the Domestic Violence Hotline, discussed how Macy’s felt the need to fund these services to provide support in communities where their stores are located.
“Macy’s reached out wanting to know how they could support in a way that would expand access for survivors who may feel safe to reach out by phone or those whose first language is not English,” said Justice.
Recently, Macy’s hosted a community event to announce the partnership with the Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support and the National Domestic Violence Hotline. The partnership will help to expand the services and support of domestic violence victims and survivors.
Held on June 30 at the Genesis shelter, Macy’s representative Piette Singletary presented a $100,000 check to the hotline and a $5,000 check to the shelter to fund the organizations and the services they provide.
“Macy’s understands that this is impacting the communities that they care for. This is impacting the communities that they have stores in,” Justice said. “To see a corporation such as this, step up with such a significant contribution, and be very specific about they ways they want it to be used, is a great example of what we really would love to see from every corporation.”