This is a Public Service Announcement -- Guest Posting by Shoshanna
There are things that we hear that immediately bring out the skeptic in us. Things that make us say, ‘No way’, ‘It can’t be’. Whether it’s because of our upbringing, our sensibilities or our desire to push away anything painful, we immediately doubt its veracity and, having discredited it, we move on. Not until we meet someone touched by it does it become real.
There is a phenomenon in
The story of a boy charming his way into young girl’s heart is as old as time. However, this story has an added twist. In this story, the admirer is not as he appears. In this story, most of the young girls are mislead and begin the relationship unaware that their admirer is an Arab, looking specifically for a Jewish girl. Others are aware but are not concerned. But none expect to be abused and mistreated. There are literally hundreds of young Jewish women all across this country caught in abusive relationships with Arab men.
Sara - He told me his name was Nati and that he was 26 years old. I was 21. I come from a family of 6 children whose parents are ultra-orthodox. At the time, I was working as a waitress and helping in an institute for Jews returning to Judaism. Nati took me to movies, wined and dined me, bought me all that I wanted. Within a few months I was in love. We had a great soul connection. After a while he said that he wanted me to meet his parents I agreed and so we traveled to
A week after he was released from prison we moved in together, I just could not be separated from him. My parents cried and I cried, still I stayed with him. My father called and asked that I not sit shiva for him. I wiped out all of my friends from my phone book, except for one friend who told me I was doing the wrong thing but that she was still with me if I wanted to talk. Months went by without talking to my parents.
We began living like a married couple. He would buy me anything that I wanted and took care of all my needs. Back in
After a year of being together, I received my first beating. I could not believe it. Husan went away for a week and I did not hear from him. After four days I called his mother, who told me: "You got a beating - So what? I get them and a lot worse all the time".
He came back to me promising not to repeat the beating. I took him back but things only got worse. He made me leave my job and stay home. Now it was like I was in jail, staying home all day with nowhere to go. By now every other week I was getting slapped around, and afterwards he would once again wine and dine me, treating me like a princess. I was slowly losing my mind.
It was at that time that I called Chemla. Mrs. B. met with me and listened to my story with patience and love. She took me to the women's hostel, where I met other girls with similar stories. Today, with the help of Chemla I'm on the right track and living in the hostel. Once again I'm connected to my family. The first three months, I could not get myself to go out. Husan would try to leave me messages of how much he needed me and could not go on without me. I told the staff to take my phone away, because I could not handle the calls. I feel that I'm one of the lucky ones to have been able to get out of this awful situation. In my time I've meet many Jewish women who were not so fortunate, and stayed with their Arabs - always abused, beaten and without hope.”
Sara is just one of the hundreds of women who turn to Chemla. They come from all over the country- religious and secular homes, Ashkenaz and Sephardic, poor and wealthy families, in mixed neighborhoods and segregated ones. Estranged from their families and friends, these girls need a safe, hidden shelter. At our safe house, each girl is taken in with love and support and evaluated by Ministry of Welfare social workers. All needs are provided for. She meets regularly with a therapist, takes life skills courses, graduates high school, and completes a course in a marketable trade. Since its opening in 2002, 250 women have been rescued and rebuilt their lives through our program.
The shelter’s director travels the country and lectures to auditoriums full of girls to let them know the things to look out for and how to say no. In over 15 years, she has helped over 1,500 young women. Parents do not know what is going on until it is too late. They never believe that the grocery delivery man, the builder from the apartment next door, or the boy in the park has convinced their daughter that he is something he is not.
Our girls depend on Chemla and Chemla depends on the support of people who want to save these girls. The safehouse is full to capacity with 24 girls rebuilding their lives and currently has a list of those waiting to get in.
Below are links to two articles about a woman rescued from where she was being held captive by her abusive partner. While this woman was older, and, being American was helped by her embassy, our girls are in their teens and alone and have no diplomatic ties- only us. Click Here and Here to read the articles.
For more information, or to arrange for the program director to speak in your town, email Chemla144@gmail.com
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