Reports of domestic abuse are always shocking. The past three months have been especially so for Jewish Women’s Aid (JWA), during which we have experienced the highest ever volume of women
contacting us for support.
I attribute the 40 percent increase on previous periods this year partly to the #MeToo movement, which has heightened consciousness of domestic abuse and sexual harassment worldwide.
Our community should also take credit for the increase in awareness. Last November, we partnered with the Board of Deputies and asked community leaders across the UK to speak out about domestic abuse.
Community rabbis, along with their chairs, welfare teams and other leaders, reinforced JWA’s message that domestic abuse is happening in our community, and that JWA is here to help. I thank them for their support.
They have helped to give women living in untenable situations the courage to admit to themselves and others that they are being abused by their partner, and to come forward and ask for help.
We are supporting women who are affected by physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse – and who were brave enough to name it.
We are helping to reduce the risk they and their children are living with, and increasing their chances of living a safer, freer life.
I’m still deeply concerned that women who have sought our help over the past year have, on average, been living in an abusive relationship for 12 ½ years. This is still far too high, and I would like JWA, together with the community, to aim to reduce this.
We are working towards the day when women don’t feel they need to suffer in silence, and can reach out for the right support as soon as they need it.