When Builder and I were together, people always told me how "lucky" I was. That men like Builder were a rare breed.
Dear G-d, I wish that were true. Unfortunately...
Since I left Builder, I've been spending a lot of time at the Family Justice Center. My kids have counseling there; I briefly attended a support group until scheduling conflicts made it impossible; and they have all sorts of services for victims of DV. Of course, since this is a city agency (it's part of the Kings County DA's office), a cross-section of Brooklyn will invariably find its way there. Including my people.
On three separate occasions, I have seen frum or formerly frum women at the Family Justice Center who are dealing with their own abusive situations. (And these are just the ones who came forward--how many others DON'T come forward?) There are social workers who deal solely with the frum. There was even a pamphlet about DV specifically directed to the frum.
What are we doing?
I thought that we were better than this. I honestly hoped that Builder was some kind of evil exception. I honestly hoped that all the smiling ladies in Boro Park were happy. However, I still think back to when Builder abused me. I remember walking through Boro Park on a Shabbos afternoon shortly after it happened and seeing all the women outside with their kids, enjoying the spring air. I looked at them and thought, "Did your husband do this to you, too? Did he ever force you?" Sad to say, I no longer feel safe among my own people. I look at frum men, and I see predators. And it breaks my heart. I had honestly thought that the Torah these men were supposed to learn made them better than that. But it seems like such a sham.