by Lainie Blum-Cogan

Jewish Community Response to Family Abuse

With reports of domestic violence increasing, religious and ethnic organizations are confronting physical and sexual abuse within their own communities [see special section on “Healing Sexual Abuse in Jewish Families,” LILITH Summer 1988]. According to Barbara Harris, director of the Transition Center, a New York City shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children, 15 percent of all Jewish women are physically abused in some way, as contrasted with more than 20 percent in the general population. Both rates continue to rise as better methods of counting victims are devised and more women report the violence. A Jewish woman generally remains in the abusive relationship for about 15 years; her non-Jewish counterpart leaves six years sooner. An innovative program sponsored by Jewish agencies in Denver has taken an unflinching look at violence in Jewish families and has created programs to counter its devastation.

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