Thursday, March 10, 2011

One in four Jewish women are victims of domestic abuse, according to the largest survey of its kind

The Jewish Women's Aid study found that 26% of the 842 people surveyed had personally experienced domestic abuse. Despite a third admitting that they thought abuse in the Jewish community would not be the same as the rest of society, the number of Jewish woman abused is 2% higher than the national average. Jewish leaders have criticized communal organizations for sweeping this problem under the carpet and said the report must act as a wake-up call to the community. Domestic violence includes physical, psychological, financial or emotional abuse and can include dictating religious observance, withholding money, threatening to hurt or kill, stalking, threatening messages, or belittling someone so they feel worthless. The survey, which was primarily directed at women, found that 27% of the 788 women who responded, and 17% of the 54 male respondents, had been abused. The study questioned those across the religious spectrum, from Liberal to strictly Orthodox. Research showed that the numbers of abused people barely differed between religious affiliations but was marginally higher among the strictly Orthodox, where 29% either experienced abuse or knew someone who had. Most of the women interviewed thought it was a hidden issue within the community: 62% said they were not aware of a rabbi in their community publicly addressing the issue. Only 11% of strictly Orthodox respondents said their rabbi had specifically addressed domestic abuse. A total of 14% of respondents said they had experienced abuse from a former partner, 8% from a family member, 4% from a current partner and 0.2% from both a former and current partner.

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