Being OTD and How it Affects my Life – Recovering from Domestic Abuse – Finding peace and hoping for a happy future…
Proud Londoner! Atheist & ex-Jew. Mental Health Advocate. Domestic Abuse and Religious Cult Survivor. This blog chronicle my journey. I also talk about my struggles with mental health.
Finding peace & hoping for a better future 🏳️🌈✊🏽
The last event I attended in Stamford Hill was one like the one this woman writes about. I was asked to come dressed appropriately and covered up which I would have done anyway. I was even told that I needed to cover my hair despite the fact I was divorced and this is not necessary according to Jewish law.
I had countless texts and phone calls prior to this event when the parents (my sibling and her husband) kept asking for photos of what I would wear and wanted to vet me and check it would fit their list of what was acceptable. Of course I’d have gone with appropriate attire but the pressure was so intense and was too much for me.
At the event itself I was looked at from head to toe by pretty much every single person there. I was taken aside by members of my own family who had questions about why I just couldn’t wear a wig (I’d already donated mine to other women in the community).
That night I decided I would never attend an event in Stamford Hill again. I shouldn’t have to justify the denier tights I’m wearing or why I’m wearing 3/4 length T-shirts not ones till the wrist. And the insistence of me covering my hair was ridiculous.
I respect people. I respect their community. But they will never respect my life and my choices.
Could you be like this woman?? I can’t think of anything worse! It might just be my own personal experiences that make me cringe and worry for people who subjugate themselves and blindly follow what they’re told.
She might have the best marriage and a man who doesn’t take advantage of her loyalty and support of everything he says. I just couldn’t do it. Period.
Trigger Warning ⚠️ sexual harassment in the workplace ⚠️
I feel so disappointed that there are still men, or women, who think it’s acceptable to harass women, or men at work.
My job is at a reputable company that is to do with mental health. I can’t go into any further details due to confidentiality reasons.
When I go to work and spent 13-14 hours a shift with colleagues who are, or should be, just as passionate about mental health as I am, I don’t expect what happened to me this week.
Long story short, a male I was doing a shift with decided it would be okay to tell me “I like you”. Sounds innocent enough. No? I reminded him I’m in a relationship and he’s married! He says “don’t worry about that. She’s my problem not yours and I’ll deal with that”.
I carried on with my day but every opportunity he had he kept making inappropriate comments. Things such as “I’ll take you on a date. Let’s go for a drive. I’ll show you things you’ve never seen or done.” etc. To say I felt awkward and uncomfortable is an understatement.
However, as there are patients around who are potentially able to hear what we speak about in general, I am incredibly careful about what I say at work. He didn’t care and kept going.
I kept saying no to every suggestion and flirtation but how many times do we have to say no or stop to someone before they actually listen to us?
At one point he said he wanted to take me to him home country so I said “to meet your wife?” He didn’t like me reminding him of her. I told him not only did he disrespect his own wife and marriage, he’s disrespecting my partner and relationship and me. He blatantly told me that because I’m not married “it wouldn’t be cheating”.
“But YOU ARE married! YOU ARE cheating”! I asked how his wife would feel if she heard the way he spoke to me and he said, once again, she’s nothing and irrelevant to him. Disgusting man.
I was unable to speak to anyone in management due to my schedule that morning but I was feeling anxious and spoke to a female colleague who was shocked at what he’d been saying to me.
I felt like I was backed into a corner. I kept telling him to stop. I kept saying shut up dude. I kept saying no. I kept. I kept. And he kept going. When I was able to have a lunch break mid afternoon I had a moment to reflect and felt so lost. The tools we have to prevent being harassed weren’t working on this man.
I felt like my voice was being ignored and my “NO’s” meant nothing to him. I decided to keep away from him the rest of the day and deal with it when I could make sense of it all and speak to someone higher up.
Unfortunately that afternoon he ramped things up even more. I started to feel like I was shrinking and helpless and unable to stop what he was doing. I didn’t want to make a fuss but this was becoming unbearable.
He said that he had liked me back when I started months ago, was obsessed with me, keeps watching me and can’t stop staring at me. Oh, and that this would never stop.
I told him that not only will nothing ever happen, we cannot even be friends now because of his he’s behaved and disrespected my relationship. He says “we can be friends with benefits”. I stopped. Turned around. And had a moment of what the actual fuck is going on??
I chose to ignore him. He repeated himself and I ignored him. He kept going. So I turned back around and said “see that camera? see the other one over there? Those aren’t just visually recording everything. They are audio recording everything you’re saying”. I had forgotten the CCTV cameras all over covered the area we were in too.
He seemed genuinely shocked and then said that because we wear facemasks it won’t be picked up on. Bullshit. Body language is. My voice is always clear.
Later on when I was in the lounge area he pushed a piece of paper towards me, tapping it, and insisting I write my phone number on it. I said NO. He did it again. I said NO. I was so drained at this point.
I needed him to stop. I needed the shift to end. And I wanted out so I could speak to someone who would be able to speak with me and help me out. I knew I couldn’t and wouldn’t keep it to myself but I had to wait until I was able to speak to someone in charge.
After he asked me countless times for my number I felt myself wondering if it would be easier to do that. Then I stopped. I told him I’d think about it. He asked how long would that take and I said “ohhhh a VERY long time”.
At the end of the day I couldn’t leave quick enough. But I felt angry at the situation. Angry at what some people do to grind you down to the ground. Frustrated that whatever I tried to say was ignored. I was just a mess. I didn’t go to work that day to be treated like that. I went to make a difference to people’s lives.
The following morning I brought this up with my Manager who spoke with HR who were left speechless and disgusted at what they heard he’d been saying. I told them most of what he’d said as that was more than enough. They said you do not come to work to be sexually harassed all day, for hours, and be left emotionally drained.
I didn’t want him to lose his job. And I still don’t. However, when I heard from someone in Management that they were not shocked as he had made some inappropriate remarks to other women, albeit not as bad, I no longer cared what happened to him.
I immediately told them I’m no longer doing this “off the record” as now that I know he’s done similar things beforehand I now want this ON the record. Because if he’s done this to other women, he will continue to do it again and again.
And in an environment where we have to maintain professional conduct and composure, regardless of what we see and hear, he was able to get away with this disgusting sexist behaviour and harassing women….
I hope he’s dealt with properly as I know there’s no way he would be allowed to work again in this environment if this is how he’s known to behave.
This breaks my heart 💔 and I know all about the feeling of desperately wanting your mother’s love and support but knowing she’s not able to give that to you and is unable to apologise for the abuse and pain she’s put you through…
This is from a tv show called Bride and Prejudice: The Forbidden Weddings. It’s on Discovery+. Definitely worth watching…
Umm 🤔 why not??? Let’s be honest and open and stop sugarcoating what is happening with young people in haredi and hasidic communities.
I have so much to say on this. She’s literally contradicting herself several times saying it’s not an arranged marriage. But then says a matchmaker is involved, they had only a few meetings before getting engaged etc.
I find her attitude towards those who date to get married and have kids in the secular world jarring. We all ask – yes even on dating apps – what they want out of it. If they want or have kids. If they want marriage etc.
She seems to be hugely offended by the term “arranged marriage”. And claims that it’s different in her son’s community as he’s a baal teshuva. Sorry hun but I’m the daughter of both parents who are BT and that’s just not the case.
If there’s a matchmaker involved and they get engaged it’s an arranged marriage.
Now that Father’s Day is over I wanted to send love and peace to all of us who either haven’t got a father, who have lost their dad, whose father was never around and to those of us who will never receive a phone call from their dad.
My father expects his kids to do the calling and always said “they know where to find me”. I can’t understand that mentality.
It’s been years since we last spoke or saw each other and unfortunately it’s been a rocky ride from day one. I’d love to say he’s been the best dad – the way so many of you are able to – but with so many kids, so little time and money, he wasn’t emotionally available to me. And he never protected us. That hurts.
Father’s Day comes and goes, year in and year out and nothing changes. And I doubt it ever will.… unless I make the initial contact and keep doing that. But don’t we all just want our parents to contact us from time to time? Maybe it’s just me.
Happy Father’s Day to all those dads who are there for your kids and who you love unconditionally. For me it was very much conditional. Once I left their way of life I was an outcast and stopped being part of the family.
Weddings happen. Bar mitzvah’s come and go. Babies are born. Relatives get engaged. A child is very unwell.
And I know nothing about any of this unless its told to me by someone who happens to mention it and expects me to know. It’s always awkward.
My dad is having a big 70th birthday event in a few days and I knew nothing about it. I only found out when someone asked me for a phone number of a relative to invite them to the party. No consideration for how that would make me feel.
I don’t know why I expect anything else. It’s been like this for years. It’s just tough sometimes… the only photo I have of the two of us and my mother is this one which was taken when I was just 19 and getting married… “You’re welcome to her” he quipped as the wedding ended.
So. Yup. It’s been a hell of a ride for decades and I’m off the train. My number has never changed. ”He knows where to find me”. But he never will. And I’ve accepted it.
Warren Jeffs is a pedophile. Warren Jeffs is an evil monster. The things he subjected not just the women and young girls to but also to the men is horrific to say the least.
One of the main women on the FLDS documentary said this at the end of part 4. I had to stop, rewind, listen again. And again. And then I felt a pull to write it down and share here.
“Those of us that are coming from the fallout of the FLDS at some point we have to move forward. The next generation depends upon it. But it’s very complicated.
So many of us are still functioning under the shadow of the past. I thought I was further along than I was. And then you have these moments as an adult when you think I know nothing. I know nothing”.
What a powerful and relatable idea. We don’t always recognise that when those of us who leave cults, extreme religions or closed communities, it takes time to heal.
We never know what the trigger is and how it will manifest itself. This documentary needs to be shown to everyone. It describes how people can be brainwashed to believe anything at all when done b the worst manipulator and abuser.
It also makes us realise the concept of coercion and underage brides being r*ped by older men sometimes in front of other women as if it’s some godly act.
Yet even after he’s been in jail for over 10 years he has strong supporters who seem to be living with the notion that he’s a martyr and they will do anything for their “prophet”.
To be clear, this is not about religion. It’s about fundamentalists, radical, and extreme cults.
Trigger Warning ⚠️ child abuse, underage marriage, control, etc.
This week, a new true crime has dropped on Netflix called Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey. It tells the harrowing true story of a polygamous cult, and viewers of the show are calling it the most traumatising thing they have ever watched.
This Netflix series explores the secretive and chilling polygamous cult of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS) Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey focuses on a US polygamous cult led by Warren Jeffs, who to followers was the leader or “prophet” of the group.
The group saw hundreds of women and children abused on a daily basis. In 2011, Warren Jeffs was convicted in Texas of two counts of sexual assault of a child. He was sentenced to life in prison for sexually assaulting a a 12-year-old girl, and 20 years for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.
Warren Jeffs was previously convicted in Utah on two counts of being an accomplice to rape in 2007, but that conviction was overturned by the Utah Supreme Court in 2010.
According to a former US Attorney Special Prosecutor who participated in the Netflix documentary, evidence during the sentence phase of the trial reflected that Jeffs was “involved in conducting the marriages of 67 underage girls to FLDS men”, and that he “had himself 78 wives – 24 of those wives were underage.”
Jeffs is a monster who’s presently serving life in prison for the sexual assault of two young girls, ages 12 and 15, who at the time of his crimes were both his wives.
Dretzin’s four-part affair is a history lesson about the modern FLDS movement, which was spearheaded by Jeffs’ father, Rulon, the original prophet, who even in his eighties was continuing to marry as many young women as he could get his wrinkled hands on, including Rebecca Wall, who speaks in detail about the nightmare of having to share a house—and bed—with this elderly creep.
From there, it was only a short leap into systemic pedophilia. Let that sink in.
Keep Sweet: Pray and Obey is a snapshot of the fear, intimidation, broken families, and sinister misconduct begat by this situation.
Thankfully, director Dretzin crafts her portrait with virtually no dramatic recreations, instead relying on a haunting collection of archival photos, home videos, courtroom footage, and recorded evidence to convey the unnerving strangeness of FLDS life, in which women dressed (as one speaker pointedly puts it) like Laura Ingalls, and men preached in holier-than-thou tones that belied their baser designs.
That material culminates with clandestine photographs and audio tapes made by Jeffs of his sexual encounters with his victims, which are so predictably disgusting that it’s no surprise they landed him behind bars, where he continues to create “revelations” that are disseminated to his followers.
This 4 part documentary is chilling, possibly triggering, shocking, disturbing, and a real eye opener to those who know little or nothing about the FLDS cult, an offshoot of Mormonism. Watch with care 🖤
To be clear, this isn’t about religion. It’s about cults, brainwashing, controlling people, underage brides, sexual abuse and r*pe of minors, forced marriage, etc.
“Real domestic abuse victims struggle, sometimes for years, to have their voices heard. They suffer at the hands of their aggressors, often trapped in toxic situations through lack of money, opportunities or the constraints of their culture.”
“For Heard to jump on the #MeToo bandwagon under false pretences feels like the ultimate betrayal, as did the fact that she lied about donating the proceeds of her divorce settlement to charity.”
“She gives all women a bad name, and in many ways undoes years of work building up credibility for victims of domestic violence. She claimed in her statement that the verdict was a ‘setback’ for women, but that’s not true: she is the one who has set back the cause for women. That, I’m afraid, is the hard truth she must now accept.”
This article is spot on. Thank you Sarah Vine for speaking the truth
Amber is now facing what Johnny had to live with for 6 years. In his case, it was unjustified. Amber lied and defamed him for publicity to bolster her career but, her plan backfired.
It’s not issue of gender. It was victory of good over evil. If you lie you have to pay for your lies.
Power comes from the act of abuse not from gender, race, age, position, wealth or fame.
Amber abused Johnny. Amber had power over Johnny.
Isn’t it time we buried the David & Goliath trope once and for all??
Finally! A journalist making sense! Sarah Vine watched the trial and reported truthfully! No gas lighting, no white knuckling criteria of what you need to be to be a victim, no blind eye to the fact that women can be awful, too. Imagine that. THANK YOU, SARAH.
You don’t speak for me. You don’t speak for victims. You are not a survivor of domestic abuse. You have the nerve to stand and talk to survivors as if you are one of us when you’re a perpetrator. Stand down. Walk away.
You don’t deserve this platform. Shame on the people who invited her to speak at a #MeToo rally when she was the abuser. Those who say it’s a step back for women I say no! This is a step forward for survivors and the world finally seeing that men can also be victims of abuse.
It makes me livid seeing her talk about her fake abuse. It enrages me to think that the women protesting and cheering were actually watching a perpetrator of abuse switch the story around.
And just like her, I won’t be mentioning her name. We all know who I’m referring to. But if I don’t say her name it could be anyone. No?!?