SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — This Mother’s Day weekend, The Genieve Shelter is honoring moms who made the tough decision to leave an abusive relationship.

A small group gathered at Sleepy Hole Park to Walk A Mile in Mom’s Shoes on Saturday, followed by a luncheon.

Genieve Shelter Executive Director Marleisa Montgomery created the event to help moms going through transition.

“They have to start life over and in order to break the cycle,” she said. “Children live what they learn. We want to make sure that we are sending a powerful message that we are strong advocates, we are supporters, and we are doing everything that we can at the Genevie Shelter to help the ladies overcome.”

For the past 35 years the Genieve shelter has helped families in Suffolk, Franklin, Smithfield and Isle of Wight. Montgomery said often times the task to leave with children or pets is made more difficult.

“Most of the time when they go back, the abuse gets worse. So, we then see them again and again,” Montgomery said.

Cathy Staton is a two-time survivor of abuse. In 2011, she founded My Help My Hope Foundation, Inc. Now she spends her life helping others.

“My first husband almost killed me by poisoning me,” Staton said. “It takes the average woman seven times to leave, it took me three to leave the first time.”

Staton said it is possible to live free of abuse.

“My family has a history of it, and I think I was like the generational curse breaker.”

The walk is just one of many ways the Genieve Shelter encourages moms to walk away from toxic or unhealthy relationships.

Avalon Center in Williamsburg

Eastern Shore Coalition Against Domestic Violence

  • Hotline number: 757-787-1329
  • Offers: emergency shelter, 24-hour crisis hotline, individual counseling, safety planning, children’s services, legal advocacy, accompaniment during hospital visits and court appearances and support groups to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
  • Website:

Samaritan House Inc. in Virginia Beach

  • Phone: 757-631-0710
  • Offers counseling, emergency shelter placement, and safety planning.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-430-2120

H.E.R. Shelter in Portsmouth

The Genieve Shelter in Suffolk

  • Phone: 757-925-4365
  • Offers emergency shelter and crisis services.
  • Crisis Hotline 757-705-2025 or 757-353-1439
  • Contáctanos para ayuda inmediata 1-800-969-4673
  • Website:

Transitions Family Violence Services in Hampton

  • Phone: 757-722-2261
  • Offers emergency shelter, crisis services, court advocacy, and counseling.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline (757) 723-7774
  • Website:

YWCA South Hampton Roads in Norfolk

  • Phone: 757-625-4248
  • Offers emergency shelter and crisis services.
  • 24-hour Crisis Hotline 757-251-0144
  • Website:

National Human Trafficking Task Force Hotline: 1-888-3737-888.  

Hampton Roads Human Trafficking Task Force: 757-430-2120

Blue Campaign to bring an end to Human Trafficking

Prevent Child Abuse America – Coronavirus Resources & Tips for Parents, Children & Others.

Child abuse and neglect are serious problems that can have lasting harmful effects on its victims. For more information on preventing child abuse and neglect check out resources from the CDC or call The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-422-4453 for help.