|Gwendolyn Turner was a victim of domestic|
violence. Now she's opening the doors to
Corinthian Hope House to help victims
seeking refuge from the perpetrator.
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Corinthian Hope House set to open for women and children affected by domestic violence
The love of God that Gwendolyn Turner espouses in church helps to heal the emotional scars left behind by a man she was in a relationship with for a number of years. But not all victims of domestic violence are fortunate as Turner, who found refuge in the church and support from family and friends.
“I tell people all the time that I’m a bold and beautiful survivor of domestic violence,” said Turner. “So my heart goes out to those who have no support system, nobody behind them that can say, ‘You can do this. You can start again. You can live, love and laugh again.’”
The members of Golden Gate Cathedral, where Turner worships, had heard her story before, so had friends, preachers, entertainers and radio personalities who gathered Oct. 24 at the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street to support Turner’s Domestic Violence Benefit in advance of the opening of Corinthian Hope House, a home for women and children affected by domestic violence.
Most people who know Turner are aware of her public persona as a songbird and one of the founders of the original Angelic Voices of Faith, a community choir known around the contemporary gospel circuit as Billy Rivers and The Angelic Voices of Faith.
Turner had no problem soliciting help from the AVOF and others, including the incomparable Melvia “Chick” Rodgers, who breathed life into the lyrics of her songs. The evening, however, was devoted to Turner and her mission and ministry.
“I always knew that what was once my life’s misery would be my mission and my ministry,” said Turner, who hopes the Corinthian Hope House will help victims get back on their feet. “I’m very passionate about it, because I’ve been in that place.”
A process will be in place for victims seeking refuge or a getaway to Corinthian, Turner said. “It will be long-term housing. The first thing we’ll do is do an intake on the victim to see exactly where they are. The second step is a safety plan.”
Domestic Violence Awareness Month was observed in October. However, the number of assaults is serious enough that warrants attention to domestic violence year-round. Turner has sounded the alarm since fleeing her perpetrator.
According to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigations, a little more than 232,000 incidents were reported to law enforcement in the state of Tennessee between 2013 and 2015. Roughly 68 percent of that number, the report concluded, were simple assaults, which included slaps, punches or kicks.
“Some victims grew up in domestic violence situations,” said Turner. “I never saw domestic violence. My downfall was I did not know the red flags…the warning signs of domestic violence. It was a while before I knew that I was a victim.”
About seven years into the relationship, she added.
Two hundred seventy six domestic violence victims were murdered, the three-year TBI study pointed out. Turner was fortunate enough to escape what could have resulted in physical abuse: slaps, punches, kicks and, in some cases, death.
Women are three-times likely to be victimized than men, the TBI noted. In some cases, children suffer emotional unrest, or a similar fate, if they witness domestic violence in the home by the person purporting to love the victim.
“We need more places where we can house these women and children who’ve gone through this traumatic experience,” said Turner. “The difference in what we’re trying to do is not only house them but connect them with resources that they won’t have to go back to those relationships.”