-Written by Erik Sargent
Flowers, gifts, family get-togethers, and immense appreciation are just a few things that make up Mother’s Day each year.
Unfortunately for some mothers and women, a joyous day of celebration isn’t always on option on Mother’s Day – or any day. Domestic violence is a never-ending issue nationwide, with a staggering three out of every 10 women facing some form of domestic violence in their lifetime, according to The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
It’s an issue that many try to brush to the side, but one that needs to be talked about, as women from every community around the country struggle to find safety, help, and peace. Where do these women go if they can’t find safety in their own homes, for themselves, and their kids? A major resource for women in these terrible situations comes from the help of women’s shelters, which aim to not only give them a place to seek refuge during moments of domestic violence, but also the resources to find stability in their life again and get back on track in an independent manner.
Organizations like the Genesis Women’s Shelter, based in Dallas, work diligently to be as accommodating as possible for women of domestic violence, as they try to strategically maneuver around the obstacles involved in cases like these and provide the necessary care.
“Genesis provides shelter, safety, and support for women and children who have experienced domestic violence,” said Bianca Jackson, senior director of funds and community development at Genesis. “Our goal is to remove every single road block she is going to face on her journey to this abuse-free life that she deserves, and that can be different for every woman.”
Every domestic violence case is different, and a big step for places like Genesis is figuring out each patient’s specific situation and needs to get where they need to be. Whether it is physical or emotional damage, domestic violence can take many forms, and the type of support one women may need might not work for someone else.
Genesis takes in women who have experienced what they call “intimate partner violence”, and that’s where they target their relief efforts for the women of the Dallas area.
“Basically, she’s been hurt by someone she is in a relationship with, or someone who she was in a relationship with,” Jackson said.
Outreach by the Genesis staff can take many forms, but most women inquire about coming to the shelter by reaching out to Genesis’ 24-hour emergency hotline.
“Does she need a place to stay, or does she need to talk to someone? As long as we have space to protect her, we tell her to come,” Jackson said. “She doesn’t have to bring anything with her, and in most cases, they don’t have anything because they are leaving while he’s at work, he jumped in the shower, or he’s on a business trip, and she gets out of there. When she walks in our doors, we provide food, clothing, a private room, and the immediate support that she’s going to need.”
Each woman who enters the doors at Genesis starts with counseling treatment before shifting to what specific things they might need to get out of their situation. Everything from figuring out if a change of jobs is needed to determining where their next residence will be, as the threat of the abuser going to where he thinks the woman might be is always present.
One of the biggest factors that comes into play with a domestic violence situation is financial, because according to Jackson, nearly all domestic violence relationships contain some type of financial abuse, too.
“We sustain them while they are here, and we also help them with financial planning,” Jackson said. “In 99 percent of all of these relationships, financial abuse is present, so she doesn’t have access to her money. Even if she’s working, she has to put her money in his account or he doesn’t allow her to work. So we provide financial planning to get her prepared for life after she leaves the shelter.”
Another major benefit Genesis offers – and something that would often get overlooked by someone on the outside looking in – is resources for the children she might have.
If a woman brings her children with her, they are no longer able to go to school because their father could go looking for them and he has the right to pull them out of school, putting the woman in a situation where she would have to go back home to get the kids.
“For the six-week period [she is here], her children can enroll in our school that is on-site with trained therapists that know what these children are experiencing, and that can provide them with a safe education while they are here,” Jackson said.
TWO MEN AND A TRUCK® making a difference
A company who takes this issue very seriously – and who tries to make a difference by helping every spring – is the international moving company, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK.
Founded in 1985 by a mother herself, Mary Ellen Sheets, and her two sons, Jon Sorber and Brig Sorber, TWO MEN AND A TRUCK developed its own way to make a difference by helping women’s shelters i across the country with its national Movers for Moms® campaign.
Franchise locations throughout TWO MEN AND A TRUCK partner with local shelters and community organizations in their community to collect essential care items for women and children that are then delivered by the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK moving teams to various women’s shelters. It provides the company a way to not only a make a difference in the lives of these women, but also to raise awareness to the public.
“Our franchise is so into Movers for Moms, we love it,” said Shalimar Rydzik, marketing coordinator for the TWO MEN AND A TRUCK Waukesha, Wis., location. “Personally, I feel having a respected woman as our franchisee makes us a little more connected to the campaign and what it means to the women in our community. [This campaign] really forces [all] of us to look at the world from a wider perspective, and encourages to care more about the greater good.”
In 2017, Movers for Moms ran in all 42 of the states that TWO MEN AND A TRUCK operated in, supporting a large number of different shelters. More than 295,000 gifts were donated to these shelters, and over the 10 years the company has been running Movers for Moms, more than 1 million items have been donated.
To find out more about Movers for Moms and how you can get involved, click here.
For Genesis and other shelters, the goal at the end of the day is to help women in these terrible situations find stability and peace. Genesis encourages anyone in the Dallas area to visit the “Be Her First Step” page on their website, which provides a detailed breakdown on the necessary steps to take for women – or people who know women – in situations of domestic violence.
For those outside of the Dallas area who are interested in helping, be sure to research shelters and organizations in your area working with this cause to find out ways you can donate to their facilities or assist with their work.