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Shelter marks awareness month

Published 9:27pm Monday, October 21, 2013

The Genieve Shelter has commemorated Domestic Violence Awareness Month with three candlelight vigils, a walk-a-thon and other events meant to bring attention to the problem of domestic violence.

“The main intent of this month is to connect abused women with domestic violence service providers,” said Mary Williams-Davis, executive director of the Genieve Shelter. “We’ve been really reaching out more than ever this month. We come together and try to educate the public about domestic violence and try to reach out to individuals who are in domestic violence situations and try to motivate them to leave.”

Domestic Violence Awareness Month started in 1981, Williams-Davis said. Each year, domestic violence shelters conduct awareness exercises and events to call attention to the problem.

According to the Domestic Violence Resource Center, one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Men account for about 15 percent of intimate partner violence victims, according to the same source.

Domestic violence is an issue that strikes almost everyone equally. Statistics show women of all races are about equally vulnerable. People with lower incomes are at higher risk, but it should be noted they are also more likely to report incidents of domestic violence.

Studies show up to 10 million children might witness some form of domestic violence each year.

The Genieve Shelter provides services including emergency shelter, permanent supportive housing, legal services, employment services, accompaniment to court appearances and more.

Theresa Connell started the Geneive Shelter in 1988 in a one-bedroom apartment in Smithfield, Williams-Davis said.

“She was abused as a child, and her mother was killed by her abusive husband,” Williams-Davis said. “She started the agency so no one else would have to experience what she and her mother did.”

For more information on the Genieve Shelter, call 925-4365. Call 1-800-969-HOPE for help.

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