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Support violence victims

Domestic violence is one of the heinous crimes imaginable, but fortunately, a number of people in Suffolk and Hampton Roads are working to help support victims.

Victims of domestic violence are victimized over and over again by someone they love and who claims to love them.

Abusers use controlling techniques that take advantage of the most sensitive parts of the victim’s life. They might use children, other family members, friends or even pets to control their victim. They might prevent their victim from having friends or a job or seeing family. They might limit access to money, the phone and the car, preventing their victim from seeking help.

Abusers attempt to control their victims’ emotions, too. They belittle opinions and accomplishments, criticize and humiliate their victims, make them feel emotionally numb and helpless, threaten to commit suicide and blame the victim for their behavior.

Due to the cycle of abuse, victims often need assistance leaving their abuser. They are likely to need financial assistance, a place for them and their children to stay, support with court appearances and help rebuilding their lives after the initial period of recovery.

Fortunately, the Genieve Shelter exists in Suffolk and Western Tidewater to help women do this. Also working throughout Hampton Roads are the YWCA, H.E.R. Shelter and Samaritan House.

The trouble is that in the past, when victims called for help, they were given the numbers of different emergency shelters to call around and seek space availability. That’s not an ideal situation for any victim in the midst of crisis to be placed in.
But the four organizations recently got together and created a new 24-hour hotline, which will connect callers with emergency shelters directly. It also will be able to help orchestrate transportation to hospitals or police stations, if necessary.

Genieve Shelter Executive Director Marleisa Montgomery said this will help victims tremendously.

“They wouldn’t have to be re-victimized by telling their story over and over,” she said at a candlelight vigil last week.

Suffolk is no stranger to domestic violence. Suffolk Police Chief Thomas Bennett said last week that about 1,500 calls pertaining to domestic violence were received in Suffolk last year. That ranked it No. 7 overall.

The hotline and the Genieve Shelter don’t exist without financial support. Montgomery is asking people to donate $31 in October through its Dollar-A-Day program. If 6,500 people do that, it would help cover the shelter’s mortgage costs and sustain the children’s program.

All checks can be made payable to The Genieve Shelter and can be sent to 157 N. Main St., Suffolk, VA 23434.

We encourage all who are able to support this worthwhile organization’s work.