Annual rally calls attention to domestic violence “epidemic”

Yolanda Jimenez, Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence, stands at the podium calling attention to the epidemic of domestic violence in the borough.
Photo by David Cruz

A Hunts Point mom was recently shot point blank in the head.

A Soundview woman was shot dead by her boyfriend. Her body laid in her apartment for days.

That was the fate of some domestic violence victims this year.

Now, in a tradition that’s stretched since 2000, Bronxites and beyond are saying enough.

They called attention to the epidemic at the 12th Annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk on Wednesday, September 26.

Outreach groups and protestors clad in makeshift wedding dresses remembered Gladys Ricart, a New Jersey woman fatally shot on her wedding day by an enraged ex-boyfriend.

Ricart’s story sent ripples throughout the tri-state area. She became the face for domestic violence.

“This is an epidemic that will take the entire community to combat,” said Melissa Cebollero, director of Health and Human Services for the Bronx borough president’s office.

Ana Ybe of Mt. Hope was among the dozens remembering her slain loved ones – her daughter Jessica and granddaughters Sasha Cosme Ybe, 2 and Jelyhanna Ybe Rojas, 5.

The three were stabbed in 2010 at the hands of Jermaine Ruiz, the girls’ father and Jessica’s boyfriend. Her other two children – Ruiz’s sons – were spared.

“We need to educate the children,” said Ana. “The boys for not abusing women in the future and the girls for not allowing that to happen.”

met the same end.

The latest victim of domestic violence, Kenia Castillo-Reyes, a 43-year-old mother of two from Hunts Point, was shot twice in the head last month by a jealous ex-boyfriend.

So far police have logged eleven domestic violence homicides across the city this year, down 37% from the same time last year, according to Yolanda Jimenez, commissioner for the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

“All too often when there’s a domestic violence homicide, we find there were no reports prior to the incident,” said Jimenez.

She urges domestic violence victims to report abuse to the police and to stop by the Family Justice Center at 198 East 161st Street.

Services there include therapy and education. She also asks the community to pitch in and not ignore domestic violence abuse if they see it.

“Silence.” she said, “can be deadly.”

Reach reporter David Cruz at 718-742-3383 or

David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at or by phone at (718) 742-3383

Demonstrators rally at Borough Hall for the 12th Annual Gladys Ricart and Victims of Domestic Violence Memorial Walk clad in makeshift wedding dresses.
Photo by David Cruz

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