Shalom Bayit, peace in the home, is one of the highest values of Judaism. This is also the value most compromised by domestic violence.
The Jewish community is not immune from domestic violence. Most statistics say it happens at the same rate and intensity as the mainstream community, 1 out of every 3 women. The only difference for Jewish women is they stay in abusive relationships longer... on average 15 years. This is why, in 2006, JFSC decided to start a program called Shalom Bayit, dedicated to addressing the issues of domestic violence in the Jewish community.
Shalom Bayit department is an award winning program dedicated to bringing awareness and building capacity in our community around the issue of domestic violence. It addresses issues of spousal violence, senior's abuse, child abuse, childhood sexual abuse, dating violence and bullying, in our community.
Domestic abuse in the Jewish community has no boundaries; it affects all types of relationships, all socio-economic classes, all ages, and all spectrums of religious and cultural life. The range of identified behaviors of abuse is broad and includes sexual, verbal, psychological, physical, and financial abuse.
The myth that Jewish families are immune from abuse allows both Jewish and secular professionals, including police, mental health professionals, and medical personnel to miss the cues of abuse.
Jewish women often either delay seeking help or do not seek help at all. The shame (shonda) associated with abuse, the fear of losing their children in custody battles, and the lack of access to financial resources for legal fees, housing, and other transitional needs represent significant barriers for many women. Too often, a woman may seek help for abuse or decide to leave an abusive relationship only to find many of her needs unmet.
Jewish women do not usually seek emergency shelter and therefore are left alone to negotiate a system of independent and disconnected program and services.
Victims and survivors are much more likely to seek help from their intimate network of friends and family members or a private psychotherapist than from any other source.
Rabbis play an important role in speaking out about domestic abuse in the Jewish community and in providing support to the victims of abuse and their families. The challenges rabbis face when dealing with domestic abuse within their congregations must be addressed. Jewish women are more likely to go to a rabbi for help and guidance if the rabbi has previously spoken out about the issue. (JWI needs assessment: A portrait of domestic abuse in the Jewish community, 2004)
The mandate of Shalom Bayit is designed to make a difference in our community for those who have experienced or are experiencing abuse.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence please contact us at 403.287.3510 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All calls and inquiries are confidential.
When in crisis, email or other forms of electronic communication are not recommended for getting help. Contact the Calgary Distress Centre at 403.266.4357.
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