April 2016 was the last time I saw my niece. We weren’t allowed to talk to each other since April 2015 but we were both at an event and met there.
I’ll never forget the way both she and her older sister who were both young teenagers whispered to me when no one was looking that they would go to the bathroom and that I should follow a few minutes later.
I knew it would be a one off chance so I grabbed it with both hands. Looking around and making sure I wasn’t being followed I ran upstairs to the bathroom where both of my nieces were waiting for me.
I cannot begin to explain the emotions that went on during those next few minutes before we had to leave. They cried. I cried. They apologised for what was going on and promised they wished they were allowed to see me but had to listen to their parents
They hugged me tighter than I’ve ever hugged anyone knowing this may be the final time we met. The tears wouldn’t stop and I told them that I loved them and was the same person they always knew. I hadn’t changed who I was inside although I looked different. They knew I loved them. I hope they still know that.
I am fully aware of the rabbinic ruling given to their family making it very clear there was to be absolutely no contact ever again. And that stopped instantly. I tried to call and text and got ignored unti eventually I found out why.
I’m no longer angry with them. I understand how much weight the words of a Rabbi carry. I also know that they don’t know any different and for them having contact with me is categorically forbidden.
This niece is getting married tomorrow. I had no idea. Someone told me by mistake. I don’t think I was meant to find out. It hurts that I can’t be there to share in her special day…. And I have no way of contacting her.
I miss you… I love you… I wish I could be there tomorrow… I’m sorry your parents have cut me out your life….
No visible symptoms, no runny nose, just a head full of darkness. No fever or rash, no fractures or sprains, just a longing for something unable to explain…
THE ONLY THING MORE EXHAUSTING THAN HAVING A MENTAL ILLNESS IS PRETENDING LIKE YOU DON’T.
MY ONLY RELIEF IS SLEEP. WHEN I AM ASLEEP, I AM NOT SAD, I AM NOT ANGRY, I AM NOT LONELY, I AM NOTHING.
It’s okay to not be perfect. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to do something that you hadn’t done, because if we don’t do those things we never grow.
IT’S OKAY TO FEEL UNSTABLE. IT’S OKAY TO DISASSOCIATE. IT’S OKAY TO HIDE FROM THE WORLD. IT’S OKAY TO NEED HELP. IT’S OKAY NOT TO BE OKAY. YOUR MENTAL ILLNESS IS NOT A PERSONAL FAILURE.
“Thoughts could leave scars deeper than almost anything else.”
People with mental health problems are almost never dangerous. In fact, they are more likely to be the victims than the perpetrators. At the same time, mental illness has been the common denominator in one act of mass violence after another.
I felt held hostage by her illness and by the backward mental health system that once again was incapable of helping our family in crisis.
I wish people could understand that the brain is the most important organ of our body. Just because you can’t see mental illness like you could see a broken bone, doesn’t mean it’s not as detrimental or devastating to a family or an individual.
Mental pain is less dramatic than physical pain, but it is More COMMOn and also More hard to bear. The frequent attempt to conceal Mental pain increases the burden: it is easier to say “My tooth is aching” than to say “My heart is broken.”
“I’m fine, I’m just tired”
My depression is setting in but I don’t want to bother you with it.
MAYBE IT’S TIME TO GIVE UP. MY MENTAL ISSUES HAVE WORN ME DOWN TO NOTHING. I CAN’T CONTROL THE PTSD.
NO ONE UNDERSTANDS WHAT I TRY TO TELL THEM. I FEEL LIKE A BURDEN WITH NO END IN SIGHT…
My Unorthodox Life has just dropped on Netflix today. I’d definitely recommend you watch this as it will not only be fascinating and educational, it will also inspire you.
Julia Haart left the Ultra Orthodox Jewish Community a number of years ago and has become a successful CEO of a Model Agency. She gives her children the options to choose how they want to live their lives.
These posts are so powerful. The way Marcus Rashford describes how he feels is moving to say the least. The letters from young boys who look up to him as the hero he is, ie so touching. Why is my screen blurred??
Having just come across this article I’m enraged. We can see that sadly because the Beth Din is made up of male Rabbis, they seem to only see things through the eyes of the husbands.
A woman who goes to the police for help because her husband is physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abusive shouldn’t be penalised.
Proving coercive control is incredibly difficult and to put another burden on the victim that if she (it’s usually the women but not always) goes to the courts about it she can be left chained to her estranged husband, without a Gett, forever. This is outrageous.
Saying you’re helping agunot (jewish women unable to be free of their husbands as they refuse to divorce their wives) and actually doing it is a different thing. What about the human rights of the victims? We need to stop protecting men who are abusers and begin thinking of how to help the women trapped and chained to their their husbands.
At the root of all of this is the terrible sexism and misogyny that exists in the Beth Din. The Chief Rabbi has said he will intervene and try to resolve this issue. I hope he does. This is unacceptable and has to be sorted out. We can’t have women chained for decades to their husbands. And we can’t allow women to be scared to go for help knowing if she does she won’t get her Gett.
A letter to parents from a parent. Please take the time to read this and feel free to share. We need to start a conversation about child abuse and the repercussions of what this can do to the victim later on in life.
Tonight I heard something that literally broke my heart. I can’t go into too many details but I’ll give you a basic run through of what I was told.
A young girl of around 17 was being physically abused by her parents. As a strictly religious household (I can’t say which religion), they felt she was doing things that to them was bad.
We are not talking about anything really bad. It was things like getting home 5 mins later than planned. Getting a grade less than expected in school. Not helping enough around the house etc etc.
She was expected to do a huge chunk of the chores and she did what she could. However, For these parents, nothing was ever good enough.
They physically punished her all her life but as she grew up she began resenting them and became more and more distant.
During that time she met a young man around the same age and they began dating. He had no mother figure in his life as she’s a drug addict. It was just him and his father at home. The father wasn’t bothered by his son having a girlfriend so young.
The girl was in a very low place and was so touched that someone was showing her attention. They spent more and more time together until they became an official couple.
As a religious girl, any form of intimacy before marriage is a huge sin. She knew she could never tell her parents about him.
THIS IS THE PART I WANT PARENTS TO READ. PLEASE.
Because of the physical abuse she suffered at home, and knowing that her parents believed they were doing the right thing in disciplining her like that, she felt very much alone. And she grew more and more attached and close to this young man.
Had she been able to speak to her mother or father they would have been able to tell her what to look out for, what is normal, what are red flags, and generally have someone to turn to if things go wrong.
I totally understand the religious aspect but there’s reality too. We cannot, as parents, turn a blind eye to what our children are doing simply because we don’t agree with it. We need to go at their pace or else we end up with children who resort to lying to us and us not being aware of what they’re experiencing.
One day after she was hit by her parents she decided she had had enough. She secretly packed a bag and ran away to her boyfriend’s house. No one knew where she was because she was unable to tell people about him, for fear of reprisals and being judged.
The man and his father were thrilled. They had a young woman there “to do women’s work”. She was trapped. She had to do all the laundry, cooking for all of them, was expected to clean the house, and if she complained she was told “be grateful we opened our home to you”.
One day there was an argument and put the blue the man hit the girl hard. He obviously apologised and said it would never happen again. She believed him. And of course that was just the beginning of 9 months of abuse. He beat her all the time.
She was covered in bruises. And she was mentally falling apart. Her parents tried to track her down and begged her to come home. They promised they would stop abusing her and things would change.
Then she had a breakdown and ended up having to be in a hospital to deal with her mental health.
When she left, she went home. Her parents stuck to their promises and never hit her again. But the damage was done. She was so used to being physically abused that she was spiralling in a cycle of abuse.
Of course there was no way she could tell them about the man so she lied all the time telling them that she was “staying with friends”.
When they were out around people they were the “perfect couple” and everyone thought they were happy. She was good at pretending. After all, hadn’t she been taught how to lie and pretend she was okay when her own parents abused her?
She had NO ONE to talk to. She had no relationship with her parents close enough to be able to tell them what was going on.
At one point there was a party and they went. She drank a lot and passed out. The next day she knew something had happened but couldn’t remember it all. Only small flashes of memory came to her. She still doesn’t know what happened that night. She probably never will.
She did remember that the man’s father arrived at one point and called his son aside and in front of several young women asked him “who do you want to f*ck tonight”? His own girlfriend was right there. Imagine the pain and humiliation she experienced.
If only she had a parent close enough to open up to… after almost a year she’s now finally realised that this was not okay and is classed as intimate partner violence, aka domestic abuse.
She’s tried to cut off contact but all the threats he makes and the fact they have to be in the same place during the week (I can’t elaborate) means that she will keep seeing him.
How different would things have been if she hadn’t been abused? How many people who have been abused get involved with people who end up abusing them as well? If they don’t get the right help and therapy it can continue throughout their lives.
We, as parents, can change things. We can be better people. We can be less judgmental and more understanding. We don’t have to throw away all our beliefs. We just have to meet them where they’re at.
The alternative is this story. A young girl unable to tell anyone her body was covered in bruises and she was scared of her boyfriend. And his father.
Luckily she has found someone to talk to. She’s also got professional help from a therapist. And hopefully with time she will heal from the trauma of her childhood and of this abusive relationship.
She says “if I had a mother I was able to talk to the way I can talk to …. I wouldn’t be in the situation I’m in. I would have been able to discuss with her the things that worried me at the beginning so that I didn’t have to waste almost a year of my life alone with my thoughts, trauma and pain fighting my attachment issues. She would have told me this wasn’t acceptable. It wasn’t normal”.
She cried looking at the photos of her body with the scars of the abuse she suffered…. No one should have to live like this. We all deserve to have our needs met. We all deserve to be cared for and to be able to share our concerns. We all deserve to have felt love from our parents and to love others. We deserve peace. We deserve therapy. We deserve… to be our authentic self without fear of repercussions.
Reading this made my heart stop for a few moments. How can anyone do this to another human? To physically force your wife in front of 30 people to have her genitals cut is barbaric. Inhumane. People doing this should be jailed. Period.
Just IN: Forced By HUSBAND🤦🏽♀️
Kenya: A 30-year-old woman (mother of three) from Murang’a County is nursing serious injuries after she was forced to undergo #FGM by her husband.
She disclosed that she underwent the ordeal on May 9, and that her husband was accompanied by over 30 members of his cult.
They first performed a ritual by slaughtering a goat before subjecting her to the cut.
“One member of the cult, strangled me as others undressed me and started cutting my genital organ with a knife…” She cried.
He also vowed to mutilate their two daughters…
My heart aches to read this. How barbaric can this man and his cult be to force his wife to have FGM done to her?? It makes me so angry that I feel hopeless. I wish there was something I could do to change this…
An Israeli Knesset member has called for the killing of couples involved in mixed marriages during a speech in parliament.
Yitzhak Pindrus is a member of the United Torah Judaism, an ultra-Orthodox party that believes in a homogenous Jewish state and society.
He called for the murder of “people who contribute to miscegenation”, invoking a Biblical story about the murder of a Jewish man and non-Jewish woman while they were making love by lancing a spear through their engaged sexual organs.