JEWISH WOMEN’S AID SHABBAT: 13 NOVEMBER 2021
Naomi Dickson is CEO of Jewish Women’s Aid
Relationship abuse isn’t just one thing. It’s usually a pattern of abuse over a period of time, taking different forms and affecting people in different ways. For example, it could be physical, emotional, or financial.
Women are the victims of domestic abuse in two thirds of cases in the UK, and they are hugely over-represented in cases of serious abuse and domestic homicide. Over recent years, public awareness has grown, and the law has developed to recognise the seriousness of abuse which might not be physical. But there is still a long way to go in tackling the deeper issues which underpin male violence against women.
Jewish Women’s Aid sees the terrible effects of abuse every day through supporting 150 women and girls every month. As a family-oriented community it can be very difficult in the Jewish community to acknowledge that there are women among us who have been mentally or physically mistreated or forced to do something sexually, by their Jewish partner. It’s hard to think of harassment taking place in the corridors of our schools. The fact is that it happens, and we need to do more collectively to prevent and confront this behaviour.
Jewish Women’s Aid Shabbat, on 13 November, is one of our most important initiatives as it gives us a chance to focus on the issue throughout Jewish settings in the UK. Support for the Shabbat has grown over the years, and it is truly cross-communal, allowing us to open our eyes and ears together.
If you are reading this article, then your community is taking part! You can take part too by accessing the Jewish Women’s Aid Toolkit – jwa.org.uk/toolkit – and finding out more about domestic abuse and sexual violence. You can use these resources to start discussions with your family, friends, and any Jewish groups you are part of.
Let’s work together to break the taboo around abuse and make Jewish community spaces a place where abusive behaviour is directly challenged, and women are fully supported.
For confidential support from Jewish Women’s Aid:
T: 0808 801 0500
E: [email protected]
Services available nationally for Jewish women and girls aged 16+ (14+ in London).