Not a perfect world

Published 10:36 am Saturday, January 30, 2016

In a perfect world, there would be no need for the Genieve Shelter. Men would love their wives sacrificially, women would honor their husbands and domestic abuse would be unheard of.

In this world, however, the Genieve Shelter performs a service that’s desperately needed, giving abused women (and some men) and their children a place to go and escape the horrors they have faced, along with a chance to start afresh and make new lives, providing as the organization says in its mission statement, “a safe and supportive environment for the victims of domestic violence, (along with) information, education and training services which focus on ending domestic violence.”

The shelter casts its safety net around the cities of Suffolk and Franklin, the town of Smithfield, and the counties of Isle of Wight, Southampton, and Surry. Last year, it provided 4,761 nights of shelter assistance to domestic violence victims, according to officials there, who have said they expect to double that number this year.

The shelter has 28 beds, including eight that were added in an expansion in September. Those beds fill up fast, especially with a recent increase in the number of single, middle-aged women who often come to the shelter after having been stay-at-home mothers and with limited education.

“These women have a real hard time getting services,” Executive Director Marleisa Montgomery said this week. “They have stayed home, raised their children and may have suffered years of abuse before trying to escape and start over. Then the age factor kicks in.”

The shelter is looking for help to meet its goals and provide this important service. Officials are looking for someone to help them furnish four new three-bedroom units, replace vinyl flooring and purchase a new van to transport clients to medical and legal appointments and job interviews, Montgomery said.

The shelter is also holding domestic abuse education training for volunteers from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 5-6 at Lake Prince Woods, Montgomery said. To comply with accreditation standards, volunteers have to log 40 hours of domestic violence education training.

Once trained, volunteers will have opportunities to work directly with clients, she said.

Anyone interested in donating or signing up for training should call the shelter at 925-4365 or via email, at

We don’t live in a perfect world. Here’s a chance for you to help make it at least a little better.