- Lena L, director
letter from a young Israeli
We continue to get all kind of responses after our Seminar on Domestic Violence.
We can see more and more how important this issue is and how many people need a practical intervention. Please pray,that we can open a big transitional shelter in BeerSheva, where prices for rent are much cheaper. The beautiful apartment in Jerusalem, which is a great blessing, is not big enough as we have a long waiting list of women in need.
Letter from a young Israeli who was raised in a Messianic home and whose father was a minister~
The following is a letter that we translated into English to share with you, which is heartbreaking. But this young woman who grew up in an abusive believing home is now ready to serve and give help to others. It is a real victory and true freedom.
"When you speak about women suffering from violence, normally you speak only about the women or about "women with children", and then one cares for the women who have experienced these terrible things from their husbands. But what happens to the children whose individual identity doesn't count since they still are deemed too small to understand or that it's considered that what they suffered is not that bad since their mother suffered more…
We all know that for women and men who live in a family suffering from violence, deep scars will linger. So what does this cause to children who from the beginning of their lives see and experience such things on their own bodies?
Children in such families become adults faster. With their own eyes they see these terrible actions, but they experience more than seeing. Instead of imitating the positive sides of their parents and instead of receiving warmth and love, they experience humiliation, blows and abuse on themselves.
While a child still is small, he/she doesn't know what is normal and the child doesn't know the ethical codes. The child doesn't know that violence in the family is forbidden, especially when the child has grown up with violence. Since children still haven't developed their own identity, they normally take upon themselves whatever happens. They normally accuse themselves for everything that happens at home. It doesn't matter if such self accuse would be the least logical that could be… "What have I done wrong?" …and there is only one thing that never disappears: fear. Fear is always there.
All humans are born with a certain amount of aggression. When the children are still small their parents teach them love, kindness, relations, understanding and cooperation. None of these things are learned through books but rather through relationships at home, the kind of relationship that every parent transmits to his/her child. When there is nobody to guide and teach the child – and the opposite is the case – the child will have a negative example to teach it how to behave.
Boys do identify themselves with their fathers, and even when they don't want to be like their father, all interior anger and frustration turns visible, not because they are "bad boys" bur because they don't know how to behave in other ways. And girls, they are present at everything that happens in the house, this little girl loses her identity and she turns frustrated and shut to all.
The life of two facial expressions. From the outside everything is in good order. Inside there is pain, fear, frustration and shame. As time passes by nothing changes, except that the small girl is no longer that small (and you can just be astonished by how much children understand even if they are only ten years old). There is no childhood, one has to become an adult quickly.
After the whole life has been about violence, the ten year old girl comes to her mother and asks: "Mum, why don't you divorce?" "Because that's not acceptable" To suffer is acceptable!!! It's acceptable when a child in all honesty wants to die. Because it's important Dad doesn't die, because he brings money to the house. But I don't want. I don't want anymore. I want to die.
There is no place to flee, not from Dad and not from the house and not from yourself, or more correctly: not from the one you have developed to become, this vulnerable, aggressive and cold person. Because it's totally impossible to let anyone in behind the many walls that are around you. It's totally forbidden. Nobody is entering there. So many masks behind so much pain.
You see around you and you see children playing, laughing and living with an euphoria that's impossible t understand. And there is nobody to talk to. And why talk? Nobody will undestand anyway. So why talk? There's no point.
It's at worst during nights. It's difficult to fall asleep and right then you are alone with all the thoughts, after one more day of crying, screaming and blows. After one more day you stand in front of your Dad. He is tall and big and in his hand he has a belt 7 cm wide… And you are a girl that is beginning to become an adult… "Dad, please… Please don't hit me…" All of me shivers, tears in the eyes, shame. Shame and fear. And there is nowhere to flee.
Nobody talks about it, not at home and not outside. It's forbidden to talk, not because somebody told you it's forbidden, but that's just how it is. They don't want to scratch the wound. They are there and we continue our life. The only problem is that time passes by and the situation doesn't change. More walls, more masks. That's the only thing that's added.
When I was 17 I couldn't stay close to playgrounds. I couldn't see the small children playing with their parents. It gave me shivering in all of my body and tears in my eyes. I was capable of seeing blood, but I couldn't see a child playing with its parents.
Do you know that when a child is growing he/she becomes what it is taught to be? But in such a family fathers and mothers can look back to a period of life as a long nightmare. But how would a child see it? A child that has lived all its life in this way, this is not a chapter of life, but life itself, all of life.
They say it's much easier to remember the difficult and painful things of life, and what should I say? They are right, especially when all of life has been like this. There is no need to make an effort, at least not in order to remember. But it takes years to forget.
I haven't come to tell all this in order to tell about myself. No, but to shout for the children that can't talk. Children talk with much emotion and less with reason in these cases, since it's too painful and they don't know how to cope. Don't think they carry less pain!
Today we are here to talk about an existing problem ("today" means the day you read this letter) and many in the messianic movement don't see this problem or they shut their eyes because they don't know how to handle it. But if nothing is done, the problem will not disappear. It's not about one more problem on the list, but it's about people's life.
Because of this, when you think about all the persons who need help, those who come from families with violence, then think about the children as well. Don't think of them as "the children of so and so", but as people with their own identity, as children who need help!"