I thought I lost my phone the other day. I frantically searched under every pillow, every piece of furniture, and every drawer. I was frantic because my phone is my lifeline. Can you relate? Especially as a woman, my cell phone is integral for my safety. When it’s late and I’m walking to my car in an empty parking lot, I clutch my phone, ready to use it to reach out for help. For women everywhere, cell phones have helped us feel safer and connected at all times. Whether it be 9-1-1 or a trusted friend, we know when we need help, it’s only a phone call away. Or, even a text. That’s why we at Genesis are so excited to announce the addition of our new 24-7 texting line.
For nearly 35 years, Genesis has offered 24-7 services to the community through our emergency hotline. We answer hundreds of calls every month from victims of domestic violence reaching out for help, education and support. Now, we are expanding this life-saving line to be able to receive and send text messages. Through this last year of a global pandemic, we have heard anecdotally of women who are more isolated and cut off from the world due to being trapped in the house with their abuser and unable to call because he is always right there. We have also heard from hard of hearing/deaf women in our community looking for ways to gain support. And, we’re aware that a woman’s lack of financial resources to have phone service could impact her ability to reach out. Our hope is that the new 24-hour text line will address these areas of concerns and overcome barriers for women to get support. Additionally, the text line will be offered as an anonymous way of reaching out, so that women who have questions or need help, but aren’t ready to identify themselves, can still connect with an advocate and receive services.
Through the text line, we will be able to offer:
- Domestic violence education, such as what is verbal/emotional/physical/sexual abuse, the Cycle of Violence, and red flags of an abusive relationship
- Safety planning to increase a victim’s ability to seek safety
- Referrals and resources for partner agencies in the community regarding housing, substance abuse assistance, pregnancy support, medical care, legal support, food/clothing/basic needs, etc.
- Exit planning to help a victim who has stated she wants to leave her abusive partner prepare and plan to leave safely and with support
- Emotional support for anyone who simply needs to know that they are not alone
- Crisis intervention and connection to mental health treatment
Since 1985, we have been an agency that prides itself in our ability to learn, grow, and innovative in order to properly advocate for women. We have witnessed first-hand the impact of the Coronavirus on a survivor’s ability to ask for help. Our aim is to directly tackle this barrier and increase the communities access to services. We know that many people have thought of our hotline as simply a shelter resource, but our goal is to accessible and available for anyone in the community needing information and support. Our focus is truly on supporting women and being a leader in providing the best community support we can.
We hope you are as excited as we are. Women all over Dallas and beyond are now able to text 214.946.HELP (4357) knowing it is a safe and discrete way to get help. Whether it be “where can I get help for my children?” “is this abuse?” or “how do I get out?” staff will be ready to offer up the best resources and education we can. When connection can increase her safety, Genesis Women’s Shelter and Support will be just a text away.