It is hard to say how long Lynn* waited, scared alone in her room. Just waiting for the hum of the motor in the driveway, so she could breathe a sigh of relief knowing her husband was leaving. What had started out as a dinner with her husband and two children had ended in another brutal attack. Lynn can’t remember what had sparked her spouse’s temper on this given night, and provoked the hair pulling and beating, as the kids were upstairs readying for bed. Truthfully, there were too many nights like this to count, and they all started to blur together. She knew the children had heard this fight, and the screams, and she knew she would have to leave as soon as the coast was clear. Deep down, she had wished she had seen the warning signs and the pattern of abuse that started this – so she could have stopped it before it involved her children. Lynn is just one of hundreds of individuals – men and women – who seek help from the JFCS Project SARAH anti-abuse program to find safety and a life free from abuse. And, JFCS is here waiting for the call, waiting to aid those in such crisis.
In fact, over the next few months, JFCS will be taking further measures to raise awareness of domestic abuse in our community of Southern New Jersey, to promote prevention of violent situations, and to inform the community of the many services and resources available.
In the last year, Project SARAH coordinators have been busy increasing partnerships with local hospitals, police and fire departments, and emergency aid organizations to help train and educate service providers on issues pertaining to abuse. Additionally, Project SARAH professionals have been presenting the Building Healthy Relationships program, which has helped to educate over 400 teens to date, in high schools, Hebrew Highs, churches and youth organizations. This aspect of the program helps teens to identify potential abusers, and recognize early precursors to violence in a relationship – in an effort to stop the cycle of violence before it starts. Project SARAH also offers mental health counseling, legal and financial resources, food pantry support, and assists with gaining access to safe shelter.
It is up to us to spread the word about these services, and raise awareness to help those who need us. Most victims suffer in silence – not knowing there is a way out of the darkness.
For many, the silence is deafening. Silence… while 1 in 4 women are abused each minute, 1 in 7 men are abused, and 3 million children witness domestic abuse in their homes each year. Silence… while survivors of domestic violence face high rates of depression, sleep disturbances, anxiety, flashbacks, and other emotional distress. Silence… while emotional, financial, digital abuse and control tactics are utilized to make a person feel weak and scared. Sadly, many victims don’t realize the subtle ways someone is controlling them until it’s too late.
We hope you’ll join us during Domestic Violence Awareness Month this October – to rise to the challenge in spreading awareness, educating our youth, protecting others from violence – and empowering all to take a stand against abuse. This October, JFCS will give a voice to those who are in need, as we fortify the public with knowledge and resources on this issue. JFCS will be raising awareness during Shabbat services at area synagogues, sharing information on domestic violence, support services, and ways that the community can get involved. If your organization, synagogue, school, or church would like to invite JFCS to make a Project SARAH presentation, please call 856-424-1333. And, if you, or someone you know needs our domestic abuse services, please call and ask for SARAH. We are here to help the community and those affected by violence and provide a sense of safety, love and compassion to those entangled in domestic abuse.
JFCS took to the streets during the Month of October, giving speeches and information out to local synagogues, churches and area organizations. We know we’re not done yet – but we won’t stop until the cycle of violence is ended for good.
*name has been changed to protect confidentiality