Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Teaching Rabbis about Abuse

If you're an orthodox woman who is a victim of domestic violence, your biggest nightmare could just end up being the rabbi you turn to for help. Unfortunately there is a tendency amongst some rabbis to defend the abusive man, and blame the woman for not being able to hold the marriage together.

This is a very real problem all over the world: many victims of domestic violence are already ashamed of their situation, they don't need to be condemned by anyone, never mind their spiritual leader. Thankfully, things are changing now, although there is still a long way to go.

12 June 1994 [also known as Gimel Tamuz] - the day of the passing of the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt'l from this world - was the same day that the notorious OJ Simpson murdered his wife and her friend - and as nothing in this world happens randomly, there is a message there for all orthodox Jews....if they care to notice.

There is an excellent article at Ynet: A Room of Their Own  about a Shelter for abused religious women which offers help in a community that views leaving home as betrayal.

One of the main issues that the organization deals with is teaching and guiding rabbis on this issue. "It's important to give the rabbis the tools. Many times an abused woman will go to a rabbi, and it is important to let the rabbis know what the options are and give them the tools to support these women," Korma says.

In order to approach rabbis in the ultra-Orthodox communities, the organization produced a movie and special pamphlet, wherein it gathered all the Halachic (religious law) sources forbidding violence against women. In N.'s case, the rabbi she went to tried to convince her she was imagining things. "Sometimes I almost believed him, maybe I'm not ok, maybe I'm wrong, and maybe my 'tzadik' husband doesn't treat me that way..." she says.

N. has some advice to women in her situation. "Don't be silent; don't turn a blind eye. During the engagement period, if there is something wrong, speak up. After marriage don't let the snowball effect of violence grow bigger. Turn to the right people or it will just get worse. The damage to the children, living under terrorist rule, is tremendous'' she says.

To read the article click here 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Only when the root of this evil is exposed will anyone be able to eradicate it. You can attempt to treat the symptoms and bandage the wounds, but that will solve nothing, really. Doing the same things the same ways over and over again, expecting different results, is insanity.