Two women laughing

Here at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support, we work alongside survivors of domestic violence to help them find safety, support and healing from abuse. It is not uncommon for abusive partners to sabotage a survivor’s relationship with her friends and family, often isolating her completely. This makes the survivor more vulnerable and more dependent on the abusive partner, which achieves his goal of maintaining power and control over her. When a survivor comes to Genesis, our support services begin to counteract this abuse and isolation, but we don’t just want the support to end there. We help survivors of domestic violence when we help strengthen their support and restore relationships with friends and family that have been affected by the abuse. Additionally, we frequently receive phone calls from community members asking for guidance on how they can help their loved one who is in an abusive relationship. During these phone calls, we often hear reports of the friend or family member beginning to experience nightmares of their own, worries or other trauma symptoms.

Our clinical team offers short-term individual sessions for friends and family members of survivors, and we are now pleased to announce that we are expanding our services to offer a new Friends and Family Group!

The women and children we work with will benefit by having family members, friends and community members who have the tools to help them in their path of healing. Our new Friends and Family Group is for anyone who wants to learn more about how domestic violence affects women and children so that they can be better equipped in knowing how to support the survivor in their life. This group will be facilitated by licensed counselors at Genesis and will be held in an ongoing format. In this group, we will address common questions and concerns that friends and family members often ask us. Loved ones of a woman experiencing domestic violence often ask us questions like “Why doesn’t she just leave?” or “Why won’t she take my advice?” We’ll talk about the reasons women stay in abusive relationships and understanding what goes into the process of a woman being ready to make changes in her life. Questions like, “Why doesn’t she fight back?” or “Why does she answer when he calls?” are also common. This group will discuss how trauma affects the brain and help explain the decisions a woman experiencing domestic violence might make, along with providing information about what abuse is and why perpetrators abuse. We will also address how it affects others when a loved one experiences abuse, as well as different ways friends and family can help, such as safety planning or knowing about resources in the Dallas area.

If you are 18 years or older and know someone who is in an abusive relationship and want to learn how to best support your loved one, please call our office at 214.389.7700 and state that you want to join the Friends and Family Group. You will be directed to a counselor who will review initial paperwork and consent forms, provide you with the dates and times of the group and answer any additional questions. This group is offered in both English and Spanish. Due to COVID-19, the Friends and Family Group will only be offered through Telehealth; group participants will not need to come to our Genesis Outreach office in person.

Written by:

Noelle Cloward, LMSW, women’s and children’s therapist at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support;
Sara Campos, LPC, bilingual women’s and children’s therapist at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support; &
Carina Rodriguez, LPC-Associate, bilingual women’s and children’s therapist at Genesis Women’s Shelter & Support