Does your partner or spouse put you down or ignore you in order to punish you? Isolate you from family, friends and co-workers? Try to control your time and money? Hit, kick, slap or push you or throw things at you in anger? Force you into unwanted intimacy and threaten to harm you or those you care about if you don’t obey?
This is Domestic Abuse!
The use of acts of violence and a series of behaviors, including intimidation, threats, psychological abuse, and isolation to coerce and to control the other person is the mode of operation of the abuser. The violence may not happen often, but may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor.
In response to this widespread but unspoken crisis of domestic abuse in the Jewish community, JCS Shalom Bayit (Peace in the Home) was founded in 2006. JCS Shalom Bayit offers a full spectrum of short- and long-term compassionate assistance and confidential services to help domestic abuse survivors and their children transition to a new life free of fear and intimidation:
- Emergency shelter and interim housing in the JCS ‘safe house’
- Financial assistance for food and clothing
- Access to the JCS Kosher Food Bank
- Rent, utility and child care and camp assistance
- Individual and family counseling conducted by JCS’ Behavioral Health Division
- Pro bono legal services and dental care, when available
Did you know…?
It takes 5 to 7 years longer for a Jewish woman to leave an abusive relationship because of the Four S’s:
- SECRETIVENESS: private matters are not to be discussed in public
- SHANDA (SHAME): embarrassment for the family in the greater community; if people know what is going on; we will be a marked as that kind of family; I feel responsible because it is my fault.
- SHALOM BAYIT: maintaining peace in the home is paramount and when it dissolves because of emotional, physical or sexual abuse, the woman has failed because she could not make it happen; she feels responsible.
- SOCIO-ECONOMIC: many victims have no access or knowledge of family finances and feel trapped due to limited resources.
Tips to Identify Behaviors of a Batterer
- Criticism of partner through name-calling, mocking, ridicule, accusations, etc.
- Controlling family finances, behavior, and decisions
- Low self-esteem
- Insecurity about one’s self-worth as provider, spouse, or sexual partner
- Explosive temper outbursts and low tolerance for frustration
- No awareness of or respect for partner’s boundaries
- Family history of domestic violence
- Unrealistic expectations about relationships
- Expecting partner to conform to fantasies and unspoken expectations
- Emotionally dependent on spouse and children
- Controlling partner (e.g. keeping car keys and money, destroying the phone, locking partner in)
- Threatening homicide or suicide to cajole partner into desired behavior
- Holding children ‘hostage’
- Believing violence is an acceptable means of problem solving
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Rigid expectations of marriage and sexual behavior
- Jealousy and possessive behaviors
- Minimizing violence by citing good intentions; blaming alcohol or drugs; claiming loss of control; or blaming someone or something else
- Playing dual roles: the perfect partner to the outside world and a batterer behind closed doors
Tips to Identifying a Victim
- Show major personality changes (e.g. an outgoing person becomes withdrawn)
- Very low self-esteem, even if person used to be confident
- Depression and/or anxiety
- Long-suffering, martyr-like endurance
- Acceptance of responsibility for the abuser’s violent behavior
- Feeling he/she deserves to be abused because of not living up to partner’s expectations
- Gradually loses sight of personal boundaries for self and children (unable to assess danger accurately)
- Judgment of lethality potential deteriorates over time (suicidal)
- Frequent apologies for partner’s behavior
- Embarrassment about relationship situation
- Often overloaded by the demands of others
- Gradually increasing social isolation and loss of contact with family, friends, and neighbors
- Allowing confinement by mate, interpreting as sign that partner “cares”
- Acceptance of violence as a temporary method of solving family problems and belief that transient acceptance of violent behavior will ultimately lead to long-term resolution of family problems
- Unrealistic hope that change is imminent; belief in promises
- Poor sexual self-image; assumption that role is to accept partner’s sexual behavior
- Abused as a child
- Abuse of alcohol, drugs, food, shopping, etc.
- Complaints from others about marital problems, such as fights with partner
- Absence from meetings, services, and other obligations
- Always seems sad, frightened, and fearful
- Constant cuts, bruises, broken bones, concussions, and other injuries
- Frequent accidents or illnesses
- Complaints about physical problems, such as headaches and insomnia
- No access to or control of the family finances, even if she/he is employed
- Has no knowledge of the family finances
- Has to ask permission to do or buy anything
- Does not share an account; does not have credit cards
- Goes to the grocery or shop with partner