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.
I’ve just finished listening to a podcast for the second part of The Single Life, Tell All which airs on Discovery +
I was very moved by what the guys said at the end about Liz and how to support someone you know who may be in the kind of abusive relationship it seems she’s in with Ed.
They made a comment about not blaming or questioning why someone has stayed so long or keeps going back etc. It really touched me and I wanted to share why.
As a survivor of domestic abuse, aka Intimate Partner Violence, with the father of my kids whom I was married to for 17 years, I have these kind of questions asked of me all the time. I never told anyone what had been going on all those years so when it came out and he was arrested I felt like I was made to defend myself.
“Why did you stay so long” “Why didn’t you tell anyone” “Why didn’t you leave the first time you felt abused” “I understand a year or two. But 17??” “Why, why, why, why…..”
What people who haven’t experienced this personally or seen it close up don’t realise is the grooming, control, manipulation, ostracising you from everyone who cares about you, coercion etc etc that happens gradually over time. And if you are young, I was just 19 and he was older at 27, you don’t necessarily know what red flags are or what the warning signs are.
And once you are aware about what is happening you may have kids, you may have been told “I love you so much, you don’t need to learn to drive. I’ll take you anywhere you need” thereby ensuring you’re trapped if you want to leave quickly or get help.
The abuser may have disabled your phone or locked doors to trap you inside. They may have told you countless times how “you’re lucky I’m with you. No other man would want to be with a fat, ugly disgusting person” etc. You’re made to feel grateful that they’re with you because after all no one else would want to be. Or at least that’s what you’re made to believe.
I always feel hurt and defensive when I’m asked why I didn’t get out earlier and other things like that. I realise that I cannot explain why in a matter of a text or a short conversation. If someone asks then they just don’t get it. And I don’t need to educate everyone. There’s enough information online to educate yourself rather than put the onus onto the victim or survivor.
To me it feels like I’m being asked how stupid can you be that you allowed it to go on for so long…. how much of an idiot can you be not to have left after the first couple of times you were abused… and I know I’m not stupid. I was simply groomed and isolated, had my money taken etc.
Even money I got from doing private lessons would have to be hidden in a drawer away from him. But sadly when I was in hospital for years on and off for months at a time, he found the money I saved to leave him and stole it. He proudly told me about it as I was hooked up to machines in hospital unable to move. That’s how vile these people can be.
So please, please don’t blame the victim and make them justify why they stayed with their abuser for a certain amount of time or why they keep going back. The mental abuse and the feeling of needing to be with them because you’ve been brainwashed to believe you can’t live without them is so difficult to comprehend.
Just be a support. Tell them you’re there when they are ready to leave. Ask what it is that might be keeping them, such as financial issues, and see if you’re able to help. Make sure they know they are not alone and you’re not judging them and they’re done nothing wrong other than to fall for the wrong person. Give them contact information for charities or shelters that can help them when they’re ready.
I hope this helps someone understand more about people they care about. Of course this post is my own experience only but it’s an insight into how it might be for someone you care and worry about.
I present to you the Bais Din that harbors Meir Kin and other Get refusers. Do we trust rabbanim that blackmail and sexually coerce women instead of trying to help them get a Get?
🛑 Meir Kin, I know you are reading this. You can no longer hide behind your false frumkeit and false Bais Din. Admit that your one goal is to control and take vengeance on Lonna who just wants her freedom. It’s been 17 years. You’re already remarried.
I am warning you Meir. We have a lot more dirt on you and Rabbi Gestetner’s Bais Din. Do what’s right and just free Lonna already. You can go back to a private life!
🛑 Rabbi Gestetner’s Bais Din, we will not stand for this perversion of Torah.
This Sunday, April 25th at 8:30pm, let’s join together and rally outside this “Bais Din” located at 7 Mosier Court, Spring Valley, NY. No longer will we be silent as our Bnos Yisroel are tortured and abused. We need to draw a line in the sand right here and right now.