Think of four women you know. They can be anyone – friends, sisters, classmates, colleagues. Got it? Great.
Now think – if the women you chose were four average American women, statistics predict that one of them has been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner. Add one more woman to the mix and the odds are that one of these five has been raped. Did you think of women ages 20-24? If so, the chances are even higher that they have been the victims of sexual abuse and violence.
No one likes to think that such atrocious things could happen to their loved ones, but the reality is that domestic violence does occur. It occurs in your home country, in your home state, and even in your home Jewish community.
We have celebrated a lot of holidays in the past few weeks. Over the course of a month, we rang in the new year, atoned for our sins, celebrated nature with a homemade hut, and danced around with our sacred text. While it has certainly been a month of celebration, it is also a time to reflect on the world around us. In the week since Simchat Torah, more than 140,000 emergency hotline calls were made to domestic violence experts and more than 60,000 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of funding.
With these startling statistics in mind, it is now time to turn our attention to another October “holiday” – Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Use this month to think about domestic violence, and to take action however you see fit.
Feeling political? Tell Congress to re-authorize the domestic Violence Against Women Act or its international counterpart. Feel like raising awareness? Try learning more, cross-posting this blog, ordering awareness products, or telling your favorite corporate sponsor that you care. Don’t like any of these ideas? Look here or come up with your own!
Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC) Legislative Assistant