A home is supposed to be a sanctuary, a safe haven, for the people living in it; not a battleground for fights, beatings, and violation. Unfortunately, that is the reality that many people live in, some of those citizens of Lorain County. On the campus of Lorain County Community College, Genesis House hosted a candlelight vigil on April 14 to honor these victims of domestic violence. The event was hosted by this organization as well as Women’s Link, and Tracy Green, Vice President for Strategic and Institutional Develop, was the guest speaker. The vigil was selected to take place due to National Crime Victim’s Week with a mission of serving victims, building trust and restoring hope in mind.
Genesis House is a shelter available to men, women, and children who are primarily victims of domestic violence. The shelter is exclusively for sufferers of those being violated by any sort of intimate partnership, and is the only one specifically for that purpose in Lorain County.
“Genesis House reminds us that home isn’t always a safe and happy place,” said Green, “It does important work to help the survivors of domestic violence and their families, right here in Lorain County and we are all thankful for their tireless efforts to help survivors and their work to increase awareness about domestic violence.
“Genesis House reminds us that a home isn’t always a safe and happy place.”
Due to the sensitive nature of the shelter’s inhabitants, Genesis House operates in a secure and secret location. It has a P.O. box and hotline only, and admittance into the shelter is done through a secure transaction with the local police department. “All anybody needs to do is to give us a call on our hotline, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week,” said Meg McIntyre, manager of community education for Genesis House, in regards to the process of how to gain entrance into the house. “We’ll do what’s called a phone intake with you. We first make sure you’re in a safe place to talk, go through a phone intake, and then if you’re appropriate for us we will then direct you to the nearest police department, and from there to us.” She explained the necessity of going to the police department first is for security purposes and to weed out those who truly do not need the services of the shelter. “By being in a violent relationship and attempting to leave, you are now at a 75 percent greater risk of being severely beaten or murdered,” McIntyre stated gravely.
Genesis House offers multiple different services to those taking refuge in the shelter. These services include after care, their always-available hotline, support groups, legal advocacy, hospital support services, children’s advocacy, and community outreach. After care services are meant to rebuild the social support system of domestic violence survivors. Often times after being engaged in a violent relationship, the victim loses connections with family, close friends, and anyone besides the abuser. What the shelter attempts to do is to give that survivor a new network of social connections by hosting parties, participating in yoga and cooking classes, having nature walks, and doing other activities to forge connections and friendships among survivors so they don’t fall into old patterns with abusive people.
Support groups are key in the healing of victims of abuse. There are four groups at Genesis House, three of which are open to the public, and exclusively for women. There was the addition of a group open and accepting to those a part of the LGBTQIA community that is run personally by McIntyre herself and has no gender specification.
Another great support, Women’s Link, run by Tracey Maxwell, often partners with Genesis House in initiatives to help prevent and aid those impacted by domestic violence. It is one of the most utilized on-campus resources. “Tracey and her talented team are often on the front lines for helping students in domestic violence situations,” said Green. “Through the college’s partnership with Genesis House, students are able to receive the support and help they need.”
The Silent Witness exhibit, a display honoring those in Lorain County who have passed away as a result of domestic violence, was also featured on campus during the week and at the vigil. At least ten of the silhouettes in the powerful display were students of LCCC at some point.
If you, or someone you know, is being abused, the Genesis House hotline is (440)244-1853 or visit http://www.genesishouseshelter.org. Women’s Link is located in BU 113.
There is always a place where help is offered around the clock.