Ellen’s story is just one example of how Shalom Bayit is changing lives every day:
“Ellen” (name changed to protect her safety) found Shalom Bayit through her rabbi. For a long time Ellen had remained trapped in a horribly violent relationship.On many occasions she tried to leave — but her boyfriend always stalked her, found her, and lured or threatened her back. Adding to the trauma of the physical abuse, after a while Ellen was so continuously belittled, threatened and degraded by her captor that she believed everything was her fault, and stopped trying to get help. Then one day after a near-death experience Ellen found the courage to try again. She fled the state, leaving California and seeking refuge with family, hoping to keep her whereabouts a secret and remain in hiding. This time she grew stronger. But it was only a matter of time before her boyfriend tracked her down, brought her back to the Bay Area, and held her captive again. She once again gave up hope.
But then somehow Ellen was able to secretly reach her rabbi for assistance—and he immediately called Shalom Bayit for help.
Although Ellen had no way to safely contact us directly, we were able to coach her rabbi through helping Ellen to safety. Then we stood by Ellen’s side to help with the ongoing next steps of reporting to the police, understanding her legal rights, obtaining a restraining order, and seeking medical care for her injuries. We helped her find safe housing,and ultimately provided the counseling to repair the profound psychological damage done by years of severe abuse.
Through our support group Ellen received immeasurable help, encouragement, and validation from women like her who had gone through similar situations. That helped her grow strong enough to rebuild her self-esteem and create a new life.
“I’m a completely different person now,” writes Ellen. “I’m strong, confident, and finally living on my own. I just wanted to say thank you for the opportunity to take part in the support group. Before the group started I really felt completely isolated and lost on what I should do next. Thanks to the services at Shalom Bayit, I am finally starting to feel like I’m able to make some really positive changes in my life. So thank you very much for all you’ve done. And I’m really glad you’re there.”