Posted by Elizabeth Schön Vainer

Last month, Journey to Safety marked the program's tenth anniversary with an inspiring evening at Congregation Shaarei Tefillah in Newton. Our featured speaker Marissa Miley, author of the New York Times bestselling book Restless Virgins, powerfully addressed the issue of dating violence, referencing the recent homicide of a University of Virginia lacrosse player at the hands of her ex-boyfriend. Ms. Miley called on adults to make it a priority to talk to kids about healthy relationships and dating violence, emphasizing the need to give kids tools, resources, and support around this issue.

This is an excerpt from a poem written by an abuse survivor, which was read at the end of the evening.

I am a giving tree

Once I was young, pretty and in love
I shared good and bad times with the man I loved
I had leaves green and healthy
Now they turned grey…
(you do not like them that way)

My fruits are my children, I bore them for you
You know, I asked you for more…
I wanted to have a whole basket of them
Happy, laughing and cheerful.

I was giving myself away
And you were the one who was taking
You kept yourself busy counting your profits
I did not mind, I was happy to share

Everything that once was important for me
Was crushed and destroyed slowly by you
My children, my house, my love, my self
These things were not meaningful for me any more
Because they were not appreciated by you.

But, Darling, there is nothing left…

Read the full poem.

While no one wants to celebrate the need for our program to exist, we do indeed have so much for which to be grateful. For ten years, Jewish survivors have had a place to go to get culturally and religiously competent help. Jewish clergy have had a place to call for consultation. Jews across Greater Boston have seen information in synagogues and Jewish organizations. Our program truly has changed – and will continue to change - lives, and all of us standing together and speaking in one voice indeed will continue to make a difference.

If you are looking for ways to get involved and add your voice, please consider…

  • Hosting an information session
  • Inviting us to run a workshop
  • Hanging up an awareness poster
  • Organizing a cell phone drive
  • Hosting a fundraiser
  • Making a donation

View more photos from the event.

Elizabeth Schön Vainer is the director of Journey to Safety, the JF&CS response to domestic abuse in our community.