• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Domestic Violence and Corona, Part 1: Change

Updated: Apr 19




Over the past few weeks, I’ve gotten more than a few requests to talk about how COVID-19 has led to an increase in domestic violence.


I’ll get to that, I promise.


But it’s not simple being a human, and this is all very complicated. So before we talk about what’s happening today, there are a few issues I feel the need to address first.


Like I said, this is complicated. Not every abuser abuses in the same way for the same reasons. Is it possible to unpack the life, education, and traumas of an abuser to figure out what triggers the abuse and why? Do we believe that people are intrinsically horrible?


Because of Passover, I’ve been thinking a lot about what text says about Pharoh. Pharoh lost his free choice. He did some not so nice things. He faced a plague. What he did was all on his own.


There’s a point at which the language shifts. Instead of saying Pharoh hardened his heart, the text says Pharoh’s heart was hardened.


To me, that’s always been a lesson in understanding that the behaviors we practice are the behaviors we end up keeping.

To me, that’s always been a lesson in understanding that the behaviors we practice are the behaviors we end up keeping.

It’s a two-way street. In Judaism, we say that good deeds bring other good deeds (mitzvah goreret mitzvah). It’s a commentary on behavior. Doing a bad deed often brings other bad deeds.


This doesn’t mean you can do only good or bad. The acknowledgment of certain behaviors, and how they set off a chain of new behaviors, is a very profound one.

Many years ago, a young woman came to me for advice. She’d been talking to a male friend she’d run into while her husband wasn’t with her. When her husband saw her, he went over to her in a jealous rage and started slapping her. She was eight months pregnant.


She came to me shaking and asked what she should do. I remember saying to her that whether or not he’d be able to learn better behaviors, she’d have to spend her whole life with him knowing that he could beat her again. I had to ask her whether or not she was willing to live with that.

We can’t take upon ourselves the responsibility of educating, healing and fixing our abusers.

We can’t take upon ourselves the responsibility of educating, healing and fixing our abusers. In the same breath, I have to say that living with a certain behavior or doing what you can to change or fix it is a choice. And it’s a choice nobody can make for you.


More on choice soon.


Relevant resources for those living in isolation with abusers >>>


[Read Part 2, Choice>>>]