The Fathers’ Day Poll released by the Family Violence Prevention Fund that I discussed in last week’s blog suggests that the majority of men are aware and concerned about sexual and domestic violence.
Finally, maybe some good news: there are men who care about sexual and domestic violence.
A group of teenagers, when apprehended for home burglaries, were asked why they selected these particular homes. They replied, “Because we knew that Christians lived there and that they would forgive us and not prosecute.” What is wrong with this picture?
In only the most recent report of Western “cultural sensitivity,” a judge in Germany cited the Quran as she turned down a battered Muslim woman’s request for a speedy divorce from her abuser.
Sadly, last week was a busy week for nationally publicized domestic violence fatalities. Sensational headlines informed us about a plane intentionally crashed into a house and another school shooting. But did we really understand that these deaths were domestic violence?
After 30 years, how about a blog? When I began my work in 1977, I didn't even have access to a copier. I wrote my first book on a typewriter. Remember those?
Debbie Friedman, remarkable Jewish songwriter and singer, has died. Debbie wrote “Save A Life,” the theme of FaithTrust Institute’s DVD on domestic violence in the Jewish community.
Orthodox Jews can divorce but, under Jewish law, the husband controls the document known as a “get” which finalizes the divorce. If he refuses to give his wife a get, she cannot remarry under Jewish law. In a recent case, Meir Kin, who divorced his wife seven years ago under California civil law but still refuses to give her the get, has remarried. Many familiar with this case consider Mr. Kin a bigamist. Having multiple wives is forbidden under Jewish law. But refusing to give a wife a get is allowed. The wife becomes an agunah, “a chained wife.” Mr. Kin divorced his wife but then refused to give her a get. There is no reason to do this except to continue to control one’s ex-wife and make her life miserable.
Elizabeth Petersen first contacted FaithTrust Institute in 2004 and finally came for a visit in 2009 while she was studying in the U.S. on a Humphrey Fellowship. Immediately upon meeting her, we realized that her vision for her work in South Africa paralleled our work at FaithTrust Institute.
“From Peaceful Homes to a Peaceful World” is the theme of 16 Days. Take a moment to reflect on where we would be if the vibrant, curious girls of the world had been able to develop and grow as God intended. Imagine the things they could have accomplished had they been spared their suffering. Celebrate the amazing things we have accomplished, despite it all.
I awoke to bright sun and cool breeze in Cape Town, South Africa. It’s summer here. Everything is in bloom in this semi-tropical part of the world. This is good news to an already light-deprived northwesterner who left winter and snow behind in the States. I am here as a guest of the South African Faith and Family Institute (SAFFI). I am also here as a speaker and specialist sponsored by the U.S. Department of State.
Jews have just completed celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights. Christians prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And we all celebrate the passing of the winter solstice which assures us that, in the northern hemisphere, the days will surely get longer now.
The presence of guns is what makes domestic violence so deadly. The American Judges Association reports that, “If the abuser has access to a firearm, it is far more likely that homicide will indeed be the result. Research shows that family and intimate partner assaults involving firearms are 12 times more likely to result in death than those that do not involve firearms. Approximately two-thirds of the intimate partner homicides in this country are committed using guns.”
“There can be no healing without justice. And justice requires courage.” This has been our basic message from FaithTrust Institute for many years. As we have worked with individual survivors, perpetrators and institutions, often people have asked, “well, what does this justice look like?”
I can always remember the timing of important events in my life because I associate them with the order of the Jewish calendar.
Ten years ago, the Center for the Prevention of Sexual Violence (now FaithTrust Institute), published A Journey Towards Freedom: A Haggadah for Women Who Have Experienced Domestic Violence. The text, borne out of a series of ongoing workshops with survivors of domestic violence, and lovingly crafted by a dedicated group of advocates, educators, and spiritual leaders spoke to the command l'hageed, to tell of our story at Passover.
High Holidays were important to me as a child. They afforded me privilege. Being the oldest grandchild, I proudly accompanied my uber frum [very observant], Yiddish speaking grandma to shul in St. Louis. Already a wife and mother when she arrived at Ellis Island, she was let down when her children, who were interested in fitting in and casting off the old ways, did not maintain her ultra observance. She worked down the list finally getting to me, the oldest of the next generation. I was awed by the aura of the shul. I loved the rhythm and the repetition; I loved hearing my grandmother recite the prayers in Hebrew. She knew them all. I loved how so many knew her and when they exchanged greetings, they made over me.