News and Announcements

Experts delve into domestic violence at Regis lecture

October 25, 2016
PLS - Domestic ViolenceFrom Left (top): Moderator Laura Bertonazzi, Katia Santiago-Taylor, (bottom) Wendy Murphy, Annie Lewis-O’Connor

Regis, a leading Catholic university in Greater Boston, convened a panel of leading healthcare and legal experts to discuss domestic violence in women and men. The event coincided with a new training requirement by the State Board of Registration for nurses and social workers on domestic and sexual violence issues. October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

The forum, moderated by Regis Dean of Undergraduate Admission and Retention Laura Bertonazzi, EdD, drew in a crowd of over 200 people ranging from nurses and social workers to students and interested citizens. Registered Nurse and Regis alum Colleen Cormier from Woburn came to Regis to stay current on an issue that affects her work at a juvenile detention facility.

Terrance Real, LICSW, a nationally renowned relationship expert who works with men and couples on the brink, highlighted three elements of domestic violence and abuse: abandonment, translation of discomfort and objectification. His focus was on men since they are by and large the perpetrators. Wendy Murphy, JD, director of the Women’s and Children’s Advocacy Project at New England Law, explained how the structure of the legal system is unequitable and breeds violence against the underclass. She said the public should be mindful of the language used to describe violent sexual offenses to not minimize the victim’s suffering. “Narrative tries to make us feel comfortable when we should be uncomfortable to experience the victim’s pain,” said Murphy.

Annie Lewis-O’Connor, PhD, NP-BC, MPH, FAAN, director of C.A.R.E. Clinic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, offered a nurse’s perspective. She challenged the audience to identify two things they will change that will promote a trauma-informed approach to healthcare delivery. “Seek to understand rather than label,” Lewis-O’Connor said. “Response to trauma is different for everyone depending on the exposure and dose.”

Katia Santiago-Taylor, MS, manager of System Advocacy at Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC), defined sexual violence and shared the eye-opening statistics that 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men report experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives. She explained the Safety, Empowerment, Empathy, and Knowledge (SEEK) response and offered BARCC services.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every minute, about 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S., which allots to about $8.3 billion in annual health care costs.

The Regis President’s Lecture Series on Health, which offers free contact hours for nurses, social workers and radiologic technologists, was established in 2007 and is hosted in partnership with Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. The unique series of lectures is designed to challenge the community to develop new skills to build awareness of contemporary health and wellness issues and learn to effect positive change. Next up is “Organ Transplants/Regenerative Medicine,” on November 9. To register, visit

Regis College: News and Announcements
News, Announcements
News and Announcements