• Yehudit Zicklin-Sidikman

Domestic Violence and Corona, Part 4: Freedom




[<<< Read Part 3, Judgment] [<<< Read Part 2, Choices] [<<<Read Part 1, Change]


I've been promising to directly address the issue of domestic violence and lockdown.


Here it goes: Fixing things once somebody is in a bad situation is so much harder than giving people the tools to make safe decisions at the beginning of a relationship. Love is a powerful drug. There are things we can’t see. That being said, even at the beginning of a relationship when the drug is especially powerful, sometimes we need our friends to hold up the mirror for us.

We also need to be a safe and supportive community. This is the most important piece of our 5th principle TELL. It's not enough that a person tells. They need to have a community that knows how to react in loving, safe and supportive ways.

We also need to be a safe and supportive community. This is the most important piece of our 5th principle TELL. It's not enough that a person tells. They need to have a community that knows how to react in loving, safe and supportive ways.

I am honored to share the following story with the permission of my daughter: She had been dating a guy for a while and was already living with him. I honestly don’t remember who moved in with whom, but it doesn’t really matter. When he was with her at family things there was a vibe we were starting to pick up that didn’t feel right. Her sisters saw it more in “friendly” gatherings when I wasn't around. Without the "Sensei Mom" around, the behavior was clearer to them as being inappropriate. I know that they held up the mirror for her. And I know that she had a hard time looking directly into it. One afternoon, she called me. “Mom, I have to get out of here and I have to get out now!” It wasn’t 5 minutes before I was in my van, having chucked every possible thing out of it out (including the back seats) and on my way to pick up a friend to help with carrying the furniture. He called a friend to meet us at my daughter’s apartment about an hour from where I lived to help us too. In under 2 hours, all of her stuff was in the van and she was on the way to sleep at a friend’s house, which was her choice, until she could figure out what she needed to do next. I know that the next few weeks, and I am guessing maybe months, were tense with avoiding him and hoping not to run into him for fear of what might happen. And this amazing young woman, who had taken the “required” self-defense classes because her mom made her, and had learned “martial arts” when she was a kid, was “still” a victim of interpersonal violence. AND this is a success story! Why? Because she was able to ask for help when she decided that she needed it. AND because her community rose to the occasion without judgment or questioning. And this is why I say over and over and over again that people are complicated. Each situation is complicated. And we, as a community can still insist on giving our young people the strongest most effective tools for combatting violence. I believe that is what is taught in the core principles of Empowerment Self Defense. So no. I admit that when it comes to the current situation, I don’t have any easy solutions to offer.

But, I do have a hope of living in a world where we educate our children on how to stay connected to their inner voices and how to be aware of particular behaviors before they start navigating intimate relationships.

But, I do have a hope of living in a world where we educate our children on how to stay connected to their inner voices and how to be aware of particular behaviors before they start navigating intimate relationships. It won’t be perfect. And yet, not giving these skills is a recipe for the continued epidemic which is interpersonal violence. The name of our courses in Israel is translated to “The Freedom to Choose.” That is what my daughter got from her training. The moment she was ready, she made the choice that she needed to make. As we enter the very end of Passover, I want to wish us all freedom. The freedom to leave our houses at will. The freedom to love whoever we want. The freedom to make our own choices about our safety. More relevant resources for those living in isolation with abusers>>>

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