Posted by Margie Zohn

purple ribbonLast week JF&CS hosted a beautiful event honoring Julie Riven Jaye, a founder of JF&CS Journey to Safety (JTS) and longtime chair of the JTS Resource Advisory Committee (RAC). I am humbled and honored to step into the role of chair of the committee and aim to fill Julie's large, vibrant, and loving shoes! As Julie steps down from chair to committee member, we know she will continue to be a powerful voice in drawing attention to abuse in the Jewish community and beyond. We are forever grateful for Julie's efforts in establishing JTS.

At the event, I was particularly moved by the words written by Journey to Safety clients and read aloud by RAC members. In one client's words, "JTS stood by me through my darkest moments, listening and advising and helping and listening and advising and helping some more." A person who is abused or moving beyond abuse needs ongoing, patient, and loving support. As we hear from many JTS clients, well-meaning family members and friends often blame domestic abuse on the survivor, leading to withdrawal from friends and loved ones. JTS provides a valuable place to turn during our clients' darkest moments.

Honoring Julie was an opportunity to take stock of Journey to Safety's accomplishments and to look ahead to the future. JTS TeenSafe, a recently expanded program, involves and educates teens on the topic of relationship abuse. Recognizing early warning signs of abuse and teaching teens how to recognize abusive behavior and extricate themselves is a crucial underpinning in preventing and ending domestic violence.

As Domestic Violence Awareness Month comes to an end, please know that in the case of violence and abuse, silence can equal death of the body or the spirit. I hope you will join us in whatever way you can in speaking up and speaking out about the important topic of domestic abuse.

margie zohnMargie Zohn is an educator, coach, and Founding Partner of Dramatic Insight, an organization that combines theatre and psychology for human development. For the last 16 years, she has designed and delivered innovative leadership development, executive coaching, and public speaking training worldwide. Margie's background is in the theatre, where she has acted, directed, taught, and written solo performances. Recently, she wrote a play entitled Red Flags, which educates people about emotional abuse. Margie holds a B.A. in Theatre Arts from Brown University and an Ed.M with a focus on arts in education from Harvard University.

Read more from our Domestic Violence Awareness Month blog series.