Sunday, January 29, 2012

Crisis Center for Religious Women

On February 1st, the Crisis Center for Religious Women ( is holding a fundraising in Gush Etzion. It's showing the movie "Eshet Cohen", followed by a discussion with Rav Yuval Sharlo, the film's creator Nava Heifetz, and Debbie Gross director of the Crisis Center for Religious Women.
Crisis Center for Religious Women is a grass roots non-profit organization, started 19 years ago because of a few cases of child sexual abuse in a religious community in Jerusalem. There was no existing service to help victims in a religious community.
Since January 1993, 70,000 different cases have come in to the center.
Most cases come from the religious community, but not all.
Women can get help of every kind at the Crisis Center for Religious Women. She can also stay anonymous if she wishes. She can call and get a listening ear. She can meet with volunteers. If needed, the Center volunteers will escort her to the hospital, to the police, to court. Volunteers will stay with her through anything they need.
Their office is located in Talpiot. Over the years, they have trained 700 women, and today there are 160 active volunteers (many from Gush Etzion). There are one or two training programs a year.
There are also workshops to prevent violence, workshops for preschoolers, school-aged children and teens. Crisis Center Director Debbie Gross said, "We teach little children that most people are nice, but not everyone is. That's why we have a mitzvah (commandment) to protect ourselves."
Schools can call the Crisis Center for help with an incident, G-d forbid, or for a workshop on abuse or family violence. They even teach teens how to choose a non-abusive mate, or tell if the boy a teen is dating might have a violent potential.
The Crisis Center gives courses for rabbis, so that just as a rav is prepared to give a psak (determination) after understanding the issues in depth. Top rabbis come to the Center to learn about these issues.
In Gush Etzion there will be a large course for Mikvah ladies and kallah teachers who can learn more about sexual abuse and prevention.
If someone has a serious suspicion that her friend is being abused, she can call the Hotline - (02) 6730002.
The Hotline worker will help her decide the best thing to do. The victim can also call with complete anonymity.
The Hotline receives 20% of its funding from the Ministry of Welfare. The rest, 80%, comes from the public. This money allows them to really help the victim with all the services she needs.
The Center's motto is "No one should have to cry alone."
To find out more about the Center, watch this video with Debbie Gross, Director of the Crisis Center:

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