Genesis Women’s Shelter

There is a way out of domestic abuse, and Genesis is here to help

     Picture this: Dallas, early 1980s. A woman flees her abusive home. With nowhere to go and few resources available to her, she lives in her Suburban and feeds her children through frequent visits to the Stew Pot, a soup kitchen downtown. Father Jerry Hill, an Episcopal priest, is working at the Stew Pot. After getting to know this woman, he realizes that she is not chronically homeless, but rather has chosen to be so to flee domestic violence. Hill wants to help. He searches for domestic violence shelters with beds available in the area, but there is one problem. The closest available bed is in Jacksonville, Florida.[1] Confronted with this gap in local support of domestic violence victims, Hill decides to open a shelter in cooperation with the First Presbyterian Church of Dallas.[2]

     The Genesis Women’s Shelter opened its doors for the first time in 1985 in response to this growing concern for vulnerable women and children fleeing domestic violence in Dallas.[3]  Shelter Ministries of Dallas heads the operation. For more than 30 years, Genesis has acted as a safe haven and a resource for these women and children. The services offered range from emergency shelter to counseling, and in some cases, legal representation.[4]  Hundreds of domestic violence victims in the Dallas area live in fear every minute of their lives, and believe there is no way out. Genesis is there to help.

     Jan Langbein, CEO of Genesis, has been with the shelter for 28 years. Prior to joining the team, she had little knowledge of the domestic violence situation in Dallas. She didn’t experience it growing up and was unaware of the frequency and scope of gender-based abuse. What began as a curious glance at a brochure in a nail salon turned into a call to action for Langbein.

     “[The brochure] said that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the United States today. I went on to read this article about a professional woman whose husband beat her because dinner was late. I was offended!” Langbein said.[5]

     Langbein’s discoveries on domestic abuse are not limited to the pages of brochures on coffee tables. The Dallas County Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Team (IPVFRT) conducts research each year on adult intimate partner violence (IPV). In October 2017, IPVFRT released the 2009-2013 Case Review Report. Their findings were as follows: “From 2009-2013, 115 individuals in Dallas County died as a direct result of intimate partner violence. An average of 15 fatal incidents occurred each year in Dallas County, and 42% of these cases resulted in the loss of more than one life.”[6]  The report goes on to note “ten of Dallas County’s 31 cities experienced a fatal IPV incident during the five-year period of this report. The majority of incidents (59%) occurred in the City of Dallas.”[7]

     These figures are staggering. Besides the frequency of the crimes, the demographical variation among the victims may also come as a surprise. Abuse is not contained in one particular neighborhood or socioeconomic group.[8]  In fact, the opposite is true. Abuse touches all communities, from stay-at-home moms to professional women working primarily in the public sphere.

     So, what does Genesis do to help? For those seeking immediate assistance, Genesis offers the Emergency Shelter. The location of the shelter is undisclosed, and women and children are invited to stay for as long as six weeks. During their stay, each person is given access to therapy, and children may attend the on-site Simmons School.[9] After the six weeks, families in need of long-term housing can turn to Annie’s House. Annie’s House allows families to stay in a private apartment for up to 12 months and provides resources to help them get back on their feet.[10]  In addition, Genesis opened the Non-Residential Outreach Counseling Office to offer therapy to those “who have experienced abuse but do not currently need shelter.” The services are completely free of charge and are offered to women and children of all ages. The counselors see 1,000 people each year.[11]  

     Besides all of these services, Genesis also runs the Genesis Benefit Thrift Store on the corner of Knight Street and Lemmon Avenue. With 20 years under its belt, the store has been making wonderful contributions to the Dallas community.

     “Most women when they leave, they leave with just the clothes they’re wearing. They basically grab their kids and often, that’s it,” Langbein said. “What we would do is we utilize the generosity of the community and in-kind donations so that we can get her something to sleep in and maybe a new handbag and a pair of shoes and jackets for her kids, those immediate needs. We opened our first store, and it immediately became not only a source for our clients but also an educational community and awareness area. My favorite part of it? Everybody can do something.”[12]

     Genesis continues to help women and children all over Dallas. With each helping hand, Genesis hopes to close the gap on gender-based violence in the area and provide the hope and aid each family needs on their journey to recovery.

 

SOURCES

[1] Langbein, Jan. Interview by National Network to End Domestic Violence. “&Me: Spotlighting Jan Langbein.” Spotlight on Feminists. November 20, 2017. https://bit.ly/2FFM6Op

[2] Larson, J. Louise. “Father Hill to lead Ennis church.” Daily Light, April 28, 2008.

https://bit.ly/2ICKuYN

[3] Genesisshelter.org, https://www.genesisshelter.org/about/

[4] Dehoff, Courtenay. “Morning Hope: Genesis Women’s Shelter has long history of helping abuse victims start over.” CW33 Dallas, May 2, 2018. https://bit.ly/2TN1EVr

[5] Langbein, Jan. Interview by Micah Flores. Cellphone Interview. Plano, TX, March 26, 2019.

[6] Dallas County Adult Intimate Partner Violence Fatality Review Team. “2009-2013 Case Review Report.” October 2017,  p. 8. https://bit.ly/2UlwEAp

[7] Langbein, Jan. “Domestic Violence in Later Life.” Gensesisshelter.org, October 29,

  1. https://bit.ly/2HPGYL1

[8] Dallas County IPVFRT. “2009-2013 Case Review Report.” p. 15. https://bit.ly/2UlwEAp

[9] Genesisshelter.org, “Emergency Shelter.” https://bit.ly/2WFPuQn

[10] Genesisshelter.org, “Long Term Housing.” https://bit.ly/2FNh20p

[11] Genesisshelter.org, “Counseling,” https://bit.ly/2UiThFJ

[12] Langbein, Jan. Interview by Micah Flores. Cellphone Interview. Plano, TX, March 26, 2019.

Additional Sources:

Dallas Domestic Violence Task Force Annual Report, 2017-2018. https://bit.ly/2UkSggl

Houston, Daniel. “Genesis Women’s Shelter has long history of serving abused

Dallas-area women.” Dallas Morning News, January 2016. https://bit.ly/2WBJurC

Cite this Page:

Micah Flores, “Genesis Women’s Shelter,” Human Rights Dallas Maps, accessed December 9, 2019, http://humanrightsdallasmaps.com/items/show/20.

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