Our program featured representatives from the Lehigh Valley chapter of the BW NICE organization. BW NICE is a unique women’s networking organization that provides women at all stages of business and personal life with support, education and resources. They see value in the balance of business networking and charitable outreach. In addition to monthly networking meetings, each BW NICE Chapter raises funds and awareness supporting a local organization in the fight against domestic violence. Their upcoming October 14 fundraiser will benefit the Third Street Alliance.
Easton Rotarian Susan Worobec began the presentation with a story titled “Stupid-Dummy-Idiot”. It was a harrowing tale about a survivor of domestic abuse. The woman in the story met a man when she was 19. They soon married and had a child creating the picture of a perfect home. Things would soon change. The first incident of physical violence would not be the last. The woman had no access to money. A second child followed. The family then moved away so the woman would have no familiar people in her life. The man’s drinking led to the loss of a job and also their house. It took 21 years for the woman to free herself from this situation. Working 3 jobs was better for her and the children than to endure any more physical and mental abuse.
It is hard to understand all the factors that allow people to stay in such a situation for so long. The children did not understand. The damage inflicted did not magically go away following the divorce. Sadly, Susan’s story was autobiographical. She is not stupid. She is not a dummy. She is not an idiot. Still, she became entrapped. Her story is by no means unique. One in fifteen children are exposed to domestic violence every year. The abuse can be physical, financial, or emotional. Neighbors, friends, and family are often totally unaware of the situation.
Domestic abuse survivors can find support in the BW NICE group. The 2022 edition of their annual fundraising luncheon will raise money to support the Third Street Alliance. Beth Archer from Third Street (also a domestic abuse survivor) explained how domestic abuse is a big issue for many of the women in their shelter. The pandemic served to make things worse as substance abuse increased. The Alliance has added a behavioral health specialist to work with children and families to overcome trauma. The goal is to rapidly re-house the families in a safe environment.