During Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month, sponsored by Memorial Healthcare System, teens expressed what they learned through art.

Women In Distress

A Message from Mary Riedel, President and CEO


Dear Friends,

In this season of lights and celebrations, this is a perfect time to reflect and be grateful for all that this eventful year has brought us.

First and foremost, we are grateful to you – our generous supporters who made it possible for Women In Distress to serve more than 3,000 women, men and children who are survivors of domestic violence giving them hope for a life free of fear and hurt.

Among the highlights this year was adding a Pet Shelter to our services so that survivors can escape abuse knowing that their pets are part of the family and can be safe too.

Women In Distress was honored to be one of the organizations receiving a special grant from The Jim Moran Foundation in honor of what would have been Mr. Moran’s 100th birthday.

Our work is about things large and small. Like the child getting a new backpack for school; the family getting a basket of food for Thanksgiving; kids getting toys for their birthday and Christmas; having a bed for the first time; enjoying a quiet moment; sleeping through the night without nightmares.

In our mission to stop domestic violence abuse, Women In Distress

  • Provided 33,000 nights of safe shelter
  • Answered nearly 27,000 Crisis Hotline calls
  • Delivered more than 22,00 hours of counseling and therapy for survivors and their children
  • Empowered 500 survivors with career counseling, school and workplace skills, training for jobs, technology and financial literacy
  • Provided Injunction-for-Protection and legal guidance to more than 500 survivors seeking help from the courts
  • Became part of the new self-help center at the Broward main courthouse

These are big numbers and the most important number is one. Changing and saving one life at a time. Moving away from violence. Getting a new start equipped with skills, confidence and hope.

You are our partner in this work as you donate your time, your dollars, your leadership, your voice speaking out against abuse in all its forms.

In the spirit of giving back, thank you for joining with us and making our community a safer place for all.


With many thanks,


October Mission Moment

hope for marie and martin


Martin* was just four years old when his mother decided to get out of an abusive relationship with him and his siblings in tow. Thankfully, Marie* had a safe place in the community to stay, but she needed help rebuilding a life free from abuse for herself and her family. When she began coming to Women in Distress for outreach services, she mentioned in one of her counseling sessions that she was worried about her youngest son, Martin. Suddenly he was wetting the bed every night, and she had to put him back in diapers. His speech had also begun regressing and he was aggressive towards his siblings and other children in daycare. Marie was distraught and unsure about what was happening. No parent wants their child suffering and it pained her to see Martin and his siblings hurting.

Hearing Marie’s distress, the Child and Family Therapist at Women In Distress began individual counseling sessions with Martin. Through play therapy, Martin’s counselor observed aggressive play with the doll toys, and how Martin digressed into tantrums when it was time to leave the counseling room. Even though Martin had witnessed the abuse against his mother, she did not think he could remember it because “he was just a baby.” However, it was clear that Martin had memories of the abuse and was acting out what he witnessed. It was imperative for Martin to reflect on his emotions and thoughts, and start to learn new behaviors. Through consistent and positive reinforcement, Martin’s counselor helped him to make good choices. His counselor also provided Marie with training to build new habits for Martin’s bed wetting issues at home.

After his counseling sessions at Women In Distress, Martin no longer shows aggression towards other children, his bed wetting is minimal, and he’s slowly started to talk again.  Marie credits Women In Distress and Martin’s time with his counselor for his progress and improvements.

Seeing Martin hurting was difficult for Marie. She carried so much guilt for staying with her abuser and seeing the effects of this on her children compounded that guilt. Through her own counseling sessions, Marie has worked through her feelings and knows her abuse was not her fault. She also finally recognizes that she was brave for finding the courage to leave with her children.  

Our work with families like Marie and Martin would not be possible without the many donors who support our mission. Martin and his mother and siblings are rebuilding their lives because they could access our Outreach Program services without worrying about how much it would cost. And that gives Marie and her family hope for the future.

You can help Women in Distress to serve more families like Marie and Martin’s by making a donation today.

*Names and some details have been changed to protect the survivor’s identity.