Fighting violence against women

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Anat’s Story

 “Seeing how absolutely miserable my son was just broke me up, his heart-rending sobs crushed my heart,” as Anat [name changed] told me, “and that was the moment I decided to get out, to leave the house as long as I still could, if only to restore control over my life to myself, and over my children’s lives… Understanding came later… At this stage it was to save ourselves from him.”

Anat’s choice to live “on the bright side of the moon” was, in a certain sense, the choice between life or death in the simplest meaning of the word.

Physical death of the body… Continue reading

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Sara Netanyahu’s Visit at Our Organization

Mrs. Sara Netanyahu, the Prime Minister’s wife, visited our shelter to commemorate the International Day for the Struggle against Violence against Women. We were very happy to learn that Mrs. Netanyahu has a deep understanding of the problem so many women face and she believes, like we do, that there is a real need for many more shelters. The visit began in the children’s clubhouse, where she spoke to the children and received a gift that they made for her. She moved on to the women’s club where she had the opportunity to meet all of the shelter residents. This was a wonderful and exciting visit. Mrs. Netanyahu spoke to the women and empowered them with her words. The women and the staff were very moved by what she said. Mrs. Netanyahu and her staff gave out gifts to the women and the staff at the shelter.

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The Black and White V – For Moving from Darkness to Light

On November 25th, the International Day for the Struggle against Violence against Women, we initiated several cooperative ventures to promote public awareness of our cause.  One of these ventures was with The Nail Studio, a beauty and marketing school, owned by Brian Layden and Martin Cooper. The theme of the campaign: The Black and White V – For Moving from Darkness to Light. All of the participants donated their time and Nail Studio produced it with the invaluable help of Korin Public Relations.

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Violence against Children

The horror of violence against children has been part of our lives for generations.

We know about the story of the Binding of Isaac from the Book of Genesis. Abraham didn’t bring this basic concept to God. He evidently brought it with him from Ur Chisdim, the source of his quarry. After that he threw out Hagar, his mistress, and his second son Essau, to the desert where they were to die of hunger and thirst. The sacrifice of children was part of the ancient Canaanite culture which the Jews tried to obliterate, however when they came for revenge on the men of the Benjamin tribe for their terrible crime against the mistress, they murdered all of the males in the tribe.

The Aztecs would sacrifice the most beautiful young people to their God. The Spartan father would place his infant child on the roof of the house at night. If he stayed alive, this was a sign that he was suitable to live the Spartan lifestyle. Isn’t the custom that’s reigned for thousands of years of sending the young to fight, and mostly to die in horrible battles and other sadistic methods thought up in the minds of men, violence against young people?

Violence against children and the sacrifice of children to a God or national cause comes to us from a place where the head of the family, tribe or clan, the tyrant, king or dictator are all part of the patriarchal culture that is in contrast to the concept of democratic equality which we uphold today. In places where a woman is a lowly servant, she has absolutely no say in the fate and future of her children. The father or the brothers and the uncles decided who the girl would marry, at what age, and what they would receive in exchange for this transaction. When the mother herself has no rights, her children have no rights as well. When American slave owners sold a female slave, they didn’t always sell her children to the same owner.

And the children? What happens to them? How were they treated? In England there is a well-known expression: Small children are meant to be seen and not heard. In short, don’t open your mouths! This is in middle class families. In the aristocratic families the children were raised by a nanny and when they reached a certain age the boys were sent to boarding school far away from home. Not to be heard or seen. And the children of the laborers? There are reports that people sent to forced labor in the mines were sent together with their families. The children went to work at farming (most of the world population were sharecroppers at the beginning of the twentieth century), or in small workshops. In countries like Iran, young girls would tie the woolen threads of the luxurious carpets. Children today serve as juvenile prostitutes for pedophiles, beggars, and jobs that brutally take away their childhoods and young adulthoods. Violence against children, women and animals, were a fact of life experienced by many. Teaching a child in this way meant an abundance of physical violence, with the hands, fists, sticks, whips and belts. At school teachers and principals had the right to hit children.

During my childhood, on the way to my school, I passed by different schools of different ethnic groups. The windows faced out into Samuel the Prophet Street in Jerusalem and I could clearly see the teacher hitting the children on their fingers. The children learned to clench their teeth and be silent. In England, the teachers hit the boys on their backsides and hands in front of the whole class – until about fifty years ago. Another English saying is: Spare the rod and spoil the child.

A recent study in Israel showed that 48% of Jewish children suffer from various types of violence at the hands of adults: physical, sexual, or emotional violence or a combination of the three. Among the Arab children the number was 66%. It’s unclear if it also includes children in the charedi (ultra-orthodox Jewish) sector. One third of elementary school children are exposed to violence from other children, in the family, at school and in the neighborhood. These boys and girls are afraid to go to school. These statistics are shocking and aggravating. It’s clear that children who are exposed to violence toward their mother become victims of violence in the hands of the violent father. According to these findings more than 75% of children experience violence. We remain silent and bury our heads in the sand.

I turn to the Minister of Education, Rabbi Shai Piron, and the Committee for the Advancement of Children’s Rights and demand the rights for all the children living in our country to live without fear and terror, without violence and pain. The damage that is caused to their young souls is etched forever inside them. Some will become violent adults, some will choose other ways to escape like crime, drugs and alcohol, and others will attempt to end their lives and unfortunately even succeed.

Margaret Mead claimed in one of her anthropological studies done many years ago: “It takes a village to raise one child.” Let’s make it a national challenge and become one village. In the understanding of the child’s needs, in the reading of the books of Yanush Korchak, the noteworthy educator, in the observation of body language and the sadness that pours from the eyes of suffering children. Let’s teach our early childhood educators and school teachers that before imparting new knowledge, it is our duty to give them the security, love and faith in the world around them.

Ruth Rasnic
Founder and Director
No to Violence

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Personal Opinion

Nitza Eshed is a strong, smart and beautiful woman, who is a member in the organization’s Executive Committee and answers our emergency lines for over eight years. She has a degree in philosophy and gender studies, a gemological in her profession and a former journalist. For many years, Nitza assisted in Beit Dror with gay, lesbian and transgender teens and women engaged in prostitution. She is a mother of three, grandmother of three – and married to Avi for 40 years ago. We are happy to give a place of honor to her writings that are based on extensive knowledge and rich experience of the human experience and feminist ideology.

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Maida Klein and Amiya Waldman Levi are both exceptionally talented and devoted  social workers, whose work experience is mainly in shelters. They were the first to start with this type of group in Israel and have been crucial, like other social workers in the shelters, in the improvement of the parenting  skills of the women who came to the shelters, after fleeing domestic violence. This is just a sample of their article and their work, which we are proud to present temporarily, until the translation of the full article will be completed.

Daniela Kehat, CEO



Maida klein and Amiya waldman-Levi

The primary goal of this article is to present an innovative group intervention developed by the authors and adapted to the parental needs of the women and their children who reside in domestic violence shelters. The group intervention integrated the principles of psycho-educational and the cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approaches.

The intervention aimed to provide participants with knowledge, tools and skills for constructive communication.  In addition, it aimed to provide the women with problem-solving skills and social support in relation to their parental functioning in an environment of domestic violence.

The group was co-supervised by both a social worker and an occupational therapist. The article describes the group’s rationale, goals and modes of operation, and present subjective assessment of the group’s effectiveness. The uniqueness of this group lies in its theory-driven approach.

Specifically, the intervention was adapted to the complex reality of the life within the shelter, and its structured character and content were tailored to the women’s needs. Moreover, the group was designed to reinforce the cognitive-emotional learning needed to improve the mother’s parenting. Following their experience in running the group, the authors came to understand that the group serves as a bridge between the mother’s, their children and the shelter.

In so doing, the group promotes in empowerment, and enable the women and their children reintegrate into community life.