On Friday evening, in front of roughly 3000 screaming fans at Indiana Farmers Coliseum, Danyette Smith was awarded the first Anthem Assists Award at halftime as the Indiana Fever took on the New York Liberty.
For Smith, it was all very exciting, as she was still feeling a buzz of excitement from the call that she received earlier in the week informing her she was the first recipient of the award.
“I was shocked and surprised. When I got the call, I didn’t know who it was, but when I was told, I was kind of taken back like, wow, is this real?”
Nominated by a friend, Smith says she was humbled by the nomination.
“I’m grateful, definitely, give glory and honor to God, but again I’m thankful to know that the work we’re doing in the community doesn’t go unnoticed.”
That work is her nonprofit organization, Silent No More, Inc.
Aimed at assisting women and children of domestic violence, the organization aids them in finding emergency shelter placement after residing in unsafe home environments due to abuse.
As a survivor of domestic violence, Smith knows firsthand the effects it can have on families.
“I went through domestic violence for 10 years with my children’s father,” Smith replied. “I was with him for 12 years total, the first two years it was bliss, no signs, no anything. Six months after I had my daughter is when the first blow came and that was to my eyes. So, when most people look at me, they don’t know that I have plates in my eyes.
“It escalated from physical abuse to gun violence. From a gun being placed to my head and told that I would be killed, to high-speed chases with shotguns [pointed] out the window. It escalated severely.”
It was in the moment Smith knew she had to do something to get her and her children away from this unfortunate situation.
Her way to do that was a protection order.
“I utilized the resources that I knew, which was getting a protection order. That’s all I knew [at the time]. I didn’t have anybody who could relate without judgment. I was alone besides my children.”
After Smith was able to get the protection order, as well as move herself and her children away from their abusive environment, she says her focus became educating and helping her daughters though this experience.
“I knew I needed to focus on my girls. We were able to get away from domestic violence, but I knew that they were victims as well. Although, it may have not been physically or emotionally directed at them, they still witnessed their mother be traumatized.”
During that time, she also realized not enough people, including people in her own community, really understood what domestic violence was or the impact it has on a person and their family.
“I realized that [people] in my community didn’t really know what domestic violence [was]. The more I did that is when women started to reach out.”
It is one of the many reasons her organization also offers education, prevention and awareness on domestic violence to the community and also offers an accessible hotline for victims and survivors to contact by phone, email or online.
“When I first started my organization, nobody knew that I was a survivor of domestic violence [because] I was still embarrassed at that time. It wasn’t until a year after starting it that I felt God tap me on my shoulder say it’s time. So, I shared my story and since then I’ve been silent no more.”
For Smith, it’s been a blessing to be embraced by her community after everything she and her family have been through.
“After being lonely for so long and coming out of domestic violence situation, to be embraced and supported by community is just remarkable, and it’s only up from here.”
ANTHEM ASSISTS AWARD INFORMATION
To nominate a community leader, friend, student, co-worker, neighbor, relative or volunteer that is making a difference through their commitment to inspiring change, please visit the nomination link here. Each Anthem Assists Award recipient will receive four (4) Tickets to a select Indiana Fever game, an Indiana Fever Gift Bag, in-game recognition and more.
Anthem Assists will honor individuals throughout the State of Indiana who have made an overwhelming impact in the lives of others by advocating for equity and inclusion in education, health & wellness, female empowerment and corporate citizenship.