Put aside the overwhelming statistics on the frequency and devastating impacts of domestic violence (DV) for just one moment. Forget that the Surgeon General has called domestic violence the number one health issue in all of the United States. None of that matters when you are listening to a survivor tell her story, and you begin to understand domestic violence on an entirely different level.
On Sunday, October 30, TBA recently hosted "A Call to Conscience," with a special presentation by a victim of DV who grew up in our community. More than 50 TBA members heard how this strong, intelligent and resilient woman endured physical and psychological abuse at the hands of her ex-husband. If anyone in the room was unsure if we can make a difference in the fight against DV, after hearing her story we all acutely understood why we must try.
Also addressing TBA were representatives of Journey to Safety at JF&CS and The Second Step. We have partnered with these organizations in the early stages of TBA Social Justice's Shalom Bayit: שלום בית. Not only are we constantly learning about DV from these professionals, but they are also guiding our programming efforts. We want to make sure that what we are doing will make a difference in the lives of the families affected by DV – that we can move the needle on this issue.
Speaking of Shalom Bayit programming, the attendees of "A Call to Conscience" built real momentum for the cause. At the conclusion of the speakers' talks, we broke into three groups each focused on a separate program track:
Awareness/Advocacy - this group discussed targeted programs to build awareness, such as teen dating violence, violence in LGBTQ communities, senior abuse, men's responsibility, as well as a program on prevention among and others. Also, the agencies (mentioned above) asked for advocacy support when it comes to state budget decisions and other legislation that can help DV victims.
Donations/Fundraising - this group discussed donation programs such as a Home-in-a-Box, where we will purchase sets of bedding, kitchen utensils, flatware and the like for a displaced family in need of supplies. If you are interested in donating to Home-in-a-Box, please see the Target registry of "Beth Avodah" who is marrying "S. Justice”. Gift cards to Target or Bed Bath and Beyond are also helpful in this effort. This group also discussed cooking and delivering meals for The Second Step and possible fundraising events.
Hands-On - this group is in interested programs where we can offer professional and hands-on help. Several people were interested in developing a babysitting service, and others were interested in offering regular tutoring opportunities for children who may get caught between schools systems. For those of you interested in contributing to the cause with their hands, we are developing an Adopt-a-Room program for minor repairs and clean-up of rooms in The Second Step residences that are transitioning from one family to the next.
If you were able to join us for "A Call to Conscience"-- we thank you! We hope you were as moved and are as motivated by the meeting as we are.
If you were unable to join us and are interested in getting involved in one of the programs mentioned above or you have an idea for a program, we would love to hear from you.
Eve and Jeff