Rhonda Sciortino

Domestic Violence Survivor Advocate Shares Personal Story of Overcoming at Global Center for Women and Justice Event

IG RhondaOn October 6 at 10 a.m., Vanguard University’s Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) hosted guest speaker Rhonda Sciortino for the first of many events for domestic violence awareness month.

Held in Heath 109, Sciortino’s lecture, Too Broken to Be Fixed?, focused on her story as a survivor of domestic violence and how she made it to where she is today. In her lecture, Sciortino empowered students by showing them that no matter what their past involved, they can be successful. In addition, she encouraged students to be part of the effort against this prevalent issue. “I want every single one of you today to leave this room as a spokesperson for the abused,” she said.

Throughout the lecture, Sciortino shared her story. She detailed the habitual pain and hostility she experienced growing up with her grandparents abusing her mentally and physically. When she was little, Sciortino’s mother lied to a neighbor saying she needed a babysitter for a few hours. After dropping Sciortino off with the sitter, she never came back. After losing her mother, Sciortino’s living situation became even worse. She was sent to live with her grandparents where she faced extreme poverty, homelessness, neglect and worst of all, abuse. “I was nobody,” she said as she described the loss of identity that came with losing her mother and living with her abusive grandparents.

In all of her struggles and loss, Sciortino attributes her success to what she says is the one true cure for domestic violence, Jesus. “I love that at Vanguard I can be straight out with the cure,” she said. After describing her path to Christ, Sciortino shared multiple examples of what she learned from the many difficulties in her past. For example, she said that poverty, aloneness and abandonment taught her gratitude, independence and self-reliance.

At the lecture, nearly all the seats filled by the lecture’s start and students continued to trickle in finding space to sit on the steps or stand at the back. One student, junior Mellica Harris said after the lecture: “It was very encouraging to see how someone could come from that rough of a background and be so successful… It was very inspiring.”

Continuing in their mission to bring awareness and an end to domestic violence, the GCWJ will be hosting other events during October for domestic violence awareness month. To find out about these upcoming events, click here.