This weeks marks the anniversary of an event I don’t really like to talk about. At some point in college I had a series of discussions with my closest friends and realized that all of us had been victims of some kind of abuse within a romantic relationship. Our experiences ranged from being threatened with knives, punched in the face, and slapped, to rape and serious emotional manipulation. Part of me would like to go into the particulars, because I think it’s interesting and has potential to be eye-opening, but it’s also nauseating, and inevitably horrifying to spend more that just a few minutes thinking back on just how helpless we felt.
Anyway, Iâ€™m not going to tell any war stories, or share any of my friends’ stories. But I will say that my friends and I are smart Jewish girls, we went to good schools, and came from reasonably functional families, and all of us have been in non-horrifying relationships since then. So, it could happen to anyone (boy or girl, of course, though I’ve only ever spoken about it with other women), and it has been happening to Jewish women for thousands of years. Please, talk about it with your families and friends, and reach out to those in the midst of suffering.
For more on the history of domestic violence in Jewish communities and halakha, check out our article on domestic violence. To report domestic violence, or to receive support if you have been a victim, visit the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse.