Shelter from the Storm: Bat Melech-Miklat

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Nowhere to go for Victims of Domestic Violence

A Global Problem with Particular Needs

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) between 20-50% of all women will be subject to domestic violence in some form during their lives.

In Israel, there are 14 women’s shelters to deal with this problem. However, Orthodox women in abusive relationships often do not take advantage of social services provided for them by the state. They fear the stigma associated generally with welfare services in the Orthodox community. They also have special religious needs, and more children than the average battered woman. In spite of the challenges, the number of religious women seeking help is on the rise. The number of religious women who called domestic abuse hotlines nearly tripled from 477 in 2004 to 1,402 in 2007.

Meira’s Story

Meira’s abuse began a few weeks after her wedding. At first she didn’t fully realize what was happening. It began verbally. He would call her stupid or ugly and shout at her if she did the slightest thing wrong. The verbal abuse became physical abuse. When he hit her, Meira rationalized to herself that it would be better when they had children. However in reality, the abuse intensified when she became pregnant.

The final straw came when her husband locked her in the house. He threatened Meira that he would “get even once and for all.” Fearing for her life, she climbed out the window and hid outside in the bushes all night until a police car passed by. She ran to the car begging them for help, and through them was referred to Bat Melech-Miklat.

 

Shelter from the Storm: Bat Melech-Miklat

  Bat Melech-Miklat’s Approach

With their network of shelters and safe havens that provide social, financial, emotional, and legal assistance to women and their children, Bat Melech-Miklat is the only organization in Israel to provide apartments that serve as shelters for abused Orthodox women. Bat Melech-Miklat aims to rehabilitate the women in the shelter and to enable them to gain self-sufficiency by offering them therapy, vocational training, job readiness, legal services and counseling.

In 2004, Bat Melech opened the Israel Center for Family Justice, the only organization of its kind in Israel, offering free and comprehensive legal aid for victims of domestic abuse in the secular and religious courts. Serving all women regardless of religious or ethnic background, professional lawyers at the Center seek restraining orders as appropriate, child custody, alimony and divorce or separation agreements. The Center serves over 5000 women each year. Bat Melech also runs the Keren Ohel Meir’s Nigunim Hostel for At-Risk Adolescent Girls. This is Israel’s only long-term, supportive living environment for at-risk, adolescent girls from ultra-Orthodox families.

Meira’s Story Continued

Meira stayed in the shelter for several months with her three young children – ages six, three and one. At the shelter it was safe for them to be children again, to play and to laugh without worrying about what might happen. The Israel Center for Family Justice enabled Meira to fight for custody of her children and win her case.

Want to Make a Difference?

Initiating social change has never been an overnight process—especially when it has to do with domestic abuse. The support of compassionate individuals enables Bat Melech to continue its life saving mission to help Israeli women and children suffering from domestic abuse to return to lives of dignity, productivity and self-respect.

The Adopt a Family Program: Many women and children who stay at Bet Melech shelters are impoverished upon entering the shelter, and are often much worse off financially upon leaving. By “adopting” a family and offering them ongoing support, you will directly impact and improve their lives. If you’re interested in supporting this work, contact Bat Melech-Miklat at office@batmelech.org.

3 Comments

  1. ruth cohen says:

    i am the pedophile fighter in jerusalem and sick and tired of being alone in this war. please contact me if you are ready to get things done here, we have 150 destroyed children in my area , nachlaot where the huge scandal broke out 3 years ago. its just me against the windmills here still fighting and i refuse to give up. below is an article from australia that gives hope that one day sanity will come to israel too.

    Victoria

    December 11, 2013 THE AGE MELB.

    · (0)
    Richard Willingham

    Richard Willingham

    State Political Correspondent for The Age

    Sexual predators, will face up to 10 years in prison for grooming children for sex, under new laws to be introduced in the Victorian Parliament.

    In response to the Betrayal of Trust parliamentary investigation into child sexual abuse and Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry, the laws will prohibit adults from communicating, in any way, with a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of sex.

    ”Grooming” is when an offender tries to facilitate the involvement of a child in sexual activity. Attorney-General Robert Clark, said the grooming laws would apply to any communication by an adult with a child, parent or carer intended to facilitate involving the child in a sexual offence.

    Importantly the law will allow police to intercept predators based on communications, rather than have to set up a ”sting”, to catch paedophiles. The offence is not contingent on sexual abuse having occurred, or even been attempted.

    “This law will give the courts the power to protect Victorian families, by imposing suitably tough sentences, in response to this insidious behaviour,” Mr Clark said.

    Offenders will face up to 10 years in prison and will be placed on the Sex Offenders Register.

    The laws, to be introduced on Wednesday December 11th, also make it illegal for any adult to communicate in any way with an adult who is responsible for the care, supervision or authority over a child, with the intention of facilitating a sexual offence.

    “This law recognises the insidious methods that some sexual predators use and the devastating toll their actions can take,” Mr Clark said.

    &&&&&

    Ruth Cohen Harif
    10:15 AM (3 minutes ago)

    to Shulema
    i am so happy for this news and green with envy that israel is only protecting the damn cursed perverts. say mazal tov to australia for me and tell them to please come over and meet me and help me get this going in this land too. help i need somebody to help me

    i am the pedophile fighter of jerusalem, alone and fed up with the cover up from the rabbinim, courts, police, politicians and estgablishment. i will will will get things changed here in israel but it sure would be better if i was not all alone here

  2. Aliza says:

    I am currently working with someone who was in a seriously abusive situation. she is still being abused by her ex and most of her siblings and her mother. she needs the kind of psychological help you offer. if I have contact information I can try and get her to come to you for help. this situation is most urgent. thank you,

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