Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



A Sanctuary to Dwell In

Michal Eisikowitz

Life for frum women — and their children — in domestic violence shelters.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

light houseOn her first night in a greater-Jerusalem women’s shelter, Kayla lay quaking in her bed.

“I was awake all night,” she recalls. “I knew there was an alarm, a camera system, and a security guard, but I couldn’t help it. I kept getting up to make sure the windows and doors were locked. If it wasn’t my husband chasing me, I just knew it would be someone else’s crazy husband.”

After nine years of relentless physical and emotional abuse, Kayla — an American-born woman living inIsrael— took the gargantuan step of seeking shelter, and the transition was deathly frightening.

Eight months later, she emerged completely changed — a healthy, functioning mother who’d regained her eroded self-esteem.

“I came in thinking I was worth nothing, on the brink of going crazy,” she says. “I was emotionally unstable, petrified of becoming suicidal. 

“By the time I left, I had an incredible amount of self-esteem. I’d also discovered how my childhood had made me more vulnerable to abuse. But the biggest thing? I left with the rock-solid knowledge that I wasn’t guilty for what happened to me as a child, not for my husband’s abuse, and not for his abusing my children. I had nothing to do with his craziness — and now I was going to start fresh.”

How did this seemingly magical transformation occur? Domestic violence shelters transmit an intense package of physical and emotional healing that is systematic in professional approach yet highly empathic. The battered woman is enveloped in love and kindness, empowering her to reestablish a sense of identity and return to healthy living.

 

 To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha. To sign up for a weekly subscription click here.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?