Woman To Woman: Battered Women’s Shelter in Jerusalem

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Woman to Woman provides physical haven, emotional support and general help for victims of domestic violence in Israel. Their activities range from providing economic support and immediate care, to counselling and confidence building in order to break the cycle of abuse, as well as legal support to re-address the disparity in power balance between men and women in Israel.

The ‘dirty laundry’ metaphor OR the silence surroundings gender-based violence.

We as a community are often told that we shouldn’t air our dirty laundry in public. This summer I read an article about the increase of sexual violence in Israel during the conflict in Gaza. It was one of the first articles I had ever really seen in diaspora press about issues concerning gender-based violence in Israel.  The ‘dirty laundry’ metaphor is one which is often used by those who want to maintain the status quo for their own power gains. This is never as true as when addressing the issue of gender-based violence.

Woman To Woman: Battered Women’s Shelter in Jerusalem

The Woman to Woman Battered Women’s Shelter in Jerusalem is a refuge for women of all backgrounds who are escaping abusive relationships.  The reason I’m nominating this charity is because issues of domestic abuse are not discussed enough within Israel, and often not enough within our own communities as well. Indeed, speaking to volunteers from these shelters, I was told that not many diaspora donations are given to such shelters, simply because of the stigma associated with domestic violence: people don’t want to believe this happens in our own backyard.

Why vote for Woman to Woman?

With no civil divorce and less than perfect reproductive rights laws, it is inevitable that the power within relationships is often weighted towards the husband or male partner.  Therefore, these shelters do not only provide economic support and immediate care. They also offer counselling and help women gain skills which aid them build up their self-esteem and independence, two of the most crucial conditions necessary for breaking a cycle of domestic violence.  The provision of a children’s centre, furthermore, ensures that the impact of abuse and exposure to violence is mitigated for the younger generation.  Finally, one of the most crucial elements of Woman to Woman’s program is their ‘pioneering’ decision to employ a full-time lawyer ‘to counsel and represent the women in the Shelter.’ By giving women the opportunity to access what is often an inaccessible avenue of advocacy and support, Woman To Woman is actively re-addressing the power disparity that exists between men and women in Israel.

Their work is invaluable. Whilst the government partly funds this shelter and others like it, it is not enough to support the work that they do.

Nominated by Em Hilton

The Woman to Woman website.

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