BC’s Eighth Annual Women in Distress event a success

Michelle Castano

Staff Writer


Broward College hosted its eighth annual Women in Distress presentation and Q & A in the South Campus Performing Cultural Arts Theatre on Oct. 17. The presentation was hosted by the Psychology and Nursing clubs at BC.

According to Women in Distress, domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior or coercive control in any relationship that is used by one person to gain or maintain power and control over another. In fact, domestic violence isn’t just physical abuse, it can also be sexual, verbal, financial or emotional abuse.

This non-profit organization offers safety planning, residential shelters with approximately 132 beds, food, medical care, counseling, pet shelters and even I.O.P. attorneys (which help with restraining orders). \

Prevention Specialist, Quayneshia Smith, feels as though verbal and emotional abuse are one of the biggest silent killers because it is being normalized to talk down to your partners, and to minimize them; moreover, abusers use their possessive jealousy to tell victims not to go to places.

“When we have conversations about domestic violence, people can always call out physical abuse. But emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse is a component of domestic violence, but I feel that we don’t talk about it enough. Unfortunately, these toxic behaviors are being normalized and it makes the conversation about domestic violence a lot harder to make individuals understand that it doesn’t take someone to just hit you in the face or to physically assault you to be considered domestic violence,” said Smith.

Unfortunately, even though domestic violence is being reported at staggering statistics, this issue is immensely being under reported. Victims are fearful of their abusers, and in some cases, don’t want these perpetrators to get in trouble with the law or are embarrassed and ashamed of their situation.

BSO Special Victims Unit Sgt. Shanda Martin said that once domestic violence is reported, the case gets assigned to a detective who contacts the victim to see what direction they want to go. They verify whether or not the victim wants to move forward with the case.

“We do present the cases to the State Attorney’s office, hoping that the case will be filed and the subject will be arrested, but a lot of times, the victims recant and they don’t want their abusers to get in trouble; so it is a double edged sword,” said Sgt. Martin.

Around one in four women are victims of abuse. If you or anyone you know suspect that domestic violence is an occurrence at home, a 24-hour crisis hotline is available; one can reach services and resources at (954) 761-1133 or visit http://www.womenindistress.org.


photo caption: Sandra Halaby-Soyer, Education and Prevention Executive Director for Women in Distress of Broward County Inc., discusses domestic violence. Daniela Jaramillo/The Observer