Eight years ago, a group of men came together to address a challenging question: how can we end violence against women and children in our community? Those men became the founding members of our Genesis HeROs (He Respects Others) auxiliary, rallying hundreds to band together and join their movement.

Our HeROs are true heroes in every sense. They have made a commitment to stand up and speak out against domestic violence and follow a credo that men must become a part of the solution in order to end the epidemic of abuse. Their efforts have mobilized men across every neighborhood in Dallas to make a change.

Men ending domestic violence

Throughout the year, you can see our HeROs in action as they volunteer at our safe campus. Our grillmasters fire up the grill at our shelter every week and serve a hearty dinner to residents, showing women and children there are compassionate men who care about them. The HeROs also mentor boys living at our transitional housing facility, Annie’s House, serving as positive role models for those who need good men in their lives.

Beyond their work onsite at Genesis, the HeROs are making a tremendous impact in the community. The HeROs Courtroom Advocacy Group provides an opportunity for men to attend court hearings and support domestic violence survivors – women like Monica*, who courageously faced her abuser in court as she sought a protective order last year. Just as Monica thought no one believed her or was on her side, seven Genesis HeROs filed into the courtroom and sat behind her. “Are they all here for me?” she asked her attorney in disbelief. That day, Monica received the protective order and shared her gratitude for the HeROs who showed up when she needed it most.

Since the group’s founding, the HeROs have helped bring the conversation about domestic violence to the forefront. They organize educational opportunities and networking events for members, along with speaking to audiences – ranging from business leaders to YMCA teenage boys groups – about how they can get involved. They are also dedicated to raising funds for Genesis, hosting their annual An Evening with Gentle Men event at the Crow Library every fall.

What started as a small grassroots movement in 2011 has grown into something greater than we ever could have imagined. The Genesis HeROs continue to lead the way and inspire men across the country to lend their voices and work toward building safer homes and communities for all.

Interested in becoming a Genesis HeRO? Visit this page to sign up.

Written by Elizabeth Corley, community engagement manager at Genesis Women’s Shelter.

*Client’s name changed to maintain confidentiality.