A Jewish Women’s Aid campaign supported by the Board of Deputies to raise awareness of violence against women and girls in the Jewish community began last Shabbat.
As part of the campaign, the Board of Deputies asked all rabbis to speak on the issue in their sermons and to show their support for the campaign. JWA research has shown that Jewish women are waiting on average 11.5 years before speaking out. This is shocking, and shows how desperately important it is for a woman to know that her rabbi and her community will believe and support her.
We asked rabbis to speak out about violence against women, against domestic violence and abuse in the Jewish community; to write about it if they were not giving a sermon to display the campaign poster and encourage members of their communities to donate to help provide JWA’s vital services, at www.jwa.org.uk/idevaw2018.
Board of Deputies President Marie van der Zyl said: “For most Jewish women experiencing domestic violence and abuse, it is a huge secret which they are too ashamed, embarrassed or fearful to admit it is happening to them. Most people don’t see it, and don’t talk about it. That is why we asked for the help of rabbis in changing that. We wanted to challenge the community to open its eyes, to acknowledge that abuse happens, and to ensure that every Jewish woman and child affected by domestic violence and abuse knows where to get help.”
JWA Chief Executive Naomi Dickson said: “We were delighted to partner with the Board of Deputies to raise awareness of domestic abuse in our community. Together with the local community leaders, we are working to create a community where abused women can seek help as soon as they need it. That they are waiting over 11 years on average before reaching out for support is too long and we need to reduce this by ensuring that all women know where to go for help, and all parts of the community are educated about domestic abuse. We are pleased that we had so much support for this campaign from rabbis who spoke to their communities on Shabbat.
The campaign included a day-long outreach event at Brent Cross on 22nd November, to raise awareness of the work JWA does in the community. The Board of Deputies team joined various community leaders, including Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, to visit during the course of the day to show their solidarity.
The JWA campaign forms part of the 16 days of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (IDEVAW) campaign.
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