A Story of One Woman's Experiences with an Abusive Father
I just want to start off by saying that I am relieved to know that domestic abuse is being recognized in the Jewish community as being real and very dangerous. Seeing this information on the Internet makes me feel as if there is something being done to stop it.
I am an adult survivor of child abuse at the hands of my father. He abused my mother and his three children for years. Both my parents are Jewish and as a result this was something that was never discussed outside the home. It was something that didn't happen in a "Nice Jewish Home." In one form or another, my father ruined all of our lives by way of his violence and verbal abuse.
We were not very religious people. I was raised in a conservative Jewish environment. I was told that it wasn't my problem. Even after they finally divorced, we never ever discussed the effects it had on me and my siblings. Only in the past few years have we all gone through some form of therapy to deal with it.
I have not seen my father in 19 years, since I was 11. The last time I saw him, I was testifying against him in court for beating up my brother on a visitation. My brother was five years old and accidentally wet his pants and my father went crazy and beat the daylights out of him. This is just a small part of what we went through.
My father and mother were divorced in the U.S. courts in 1974 but in the Jewish religion my father would not give my Mom a divorce until 1979. He made her wait until he wanted to remarry and the woman wasn't even Jewish. It's not right that a woman be treated like a piece of property. The rules have to change to secure women the ability to file for a Jewish divorce as well as protection from the abuser.
I just wanted to voice my appreciation in seeing something of this nature in existence. I am currently preparing to volunteer my time at a battered women's shelter in my community. I finally feel that I can do this without feeling horrible like I have in the past, because I know I can make difference to another woman, where no one could for us 20 years ago.
Thank you again.
(By an Anonymous Visitor to the Jewish Domestic Abuse and Agunah Problem Web Page)