In the May 8 episode of The Real Housewives of New York City, fans are treated to one of the most mortifying public spectacles in the show's 11 season history. Even worse? It took place at a charity event with an abuse survivor stuck in the middle. So viewers tuning in may be wondering what Safe Horizon is exactly, and how the Housewives are connected to the organization.
In 2018, Ramona Singer teamed up with Amy Heilberg’s jewelry company Encircle NYC to design a jewelry line benefitting Safe Horizon, so she has a history with the nonprofit, and she hosted the event featured in the episode. Safe Horizon is a victim services organization providing social services for abuse victims and victims of violent crime in New York City. It offers programming for victims of domestic violence, child abuse, sexual assault, and human trafficking, as well as homeless youth and the families of homicide victims. As the largest victim services non-profit organization in the United States, Safe Horizon services 250,000 children, adults, and families across the five boroughs, according to its website. The organization operates everything from domestic violence shelters, child advocacy centers, and an anti-trafficking program, to law projects, community programs, and a counseling center.
In the episode, Ramona tries to make a speech introducing the survivor whom the event appears to be honoring, but Dorinda Medley and Sonja Morgan can't stop interrupting her. The advocate featured in the clip is Bridie Farrell, a nationally ranked speed skater who is now the CEO of NY Loves Kids, a nonprofit dedicated to ending child sexual abuse. Farrell is also a child sexual abuse survivor, so you can imagine how cringeworthy it is when Sonja makes a "whore" joke to cover a slip of the tongue. It is maximum yikes, but the ladies just can't seem to pull it together.
Ramona has been remarkably transparent on the show about her own history with abuse, from talking about it to explain some of her own behaviors to her charity work. She details her experience with an abusive father, who frequently endangered both her and her mother, candidly in her 2015 book Life on the Ramona Coaster.
In one passage from the book, excerpted on Bravo's The Daily Dish, Ramona admits that she pulled a knife on her father when she was 15 years old, writing:
As if I am rewinding a horror movie, I see images of my mother’s battered face begging me to call the police, my father throwing plates, my mother being pulled by her hair, my mother grabbing me so that we can run away from my father, and finally her defeated face as she welcomes him back into our home. I feel so cheated; cheated out of a normal childhood and a loving father. I resent him for exposing me to all this violence and emotional abuse. At that moment, I promise myself that I am not going to be a victim. I am not going to take his abuse.
It seems like Ramona was trying her best to make a respectful speech at the event — but with her fellow Housewives in attendance, they just couldn't get into serious subject matter mode.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit online.rainn.org.