Posted by Sy Friedland, Chief Executive Officer

Thursday, March 3 is White Ribbon Day here in Massachusetts. As I've done in years past, I will renew my White Ribbon Day pledge.

From this day forward, I promise to be part of the solution to ending violence against women.

I am renewing my pledge because as a man and as a member of this community, I have a part to play in challenging cultural norms and messages that, either tacitly or explicitly, tolerate violence and other forms of abuse and disrespect.

The White Ribbon Campaign shines a light on the aspects of our culture that allow abuse to be waved off and marginalized. Aspects of our culture that imply that perhaps the survivor did something to deserve a punch in the face or secretly enjoyed coerced or forced sex. Aspects of our culture that allow us to think that abuse happens to other people. Not to our family, friends, and neighbors. Not in the Jewish community.

JF&CS Journey to Safety is actively supporting those who have been abused find their way to safety in whatever way each client needs and wants. JF&CS is proud of what we have done and are compelled to move forward with this commitment and take new action steps to prevent not only domestic abuse but also teen dating abuse in the Jewish community. All change occurs when individuals step up and decide to do something.

Please join me in considering and implementing the suggestions below:

  • Talk – about the utmost importance of dignity and respect in interpersonal relationships.
  • Identify - moments that glorify violence, abuse, and/or disrespect in our popular media.
  • Lead – encourage our institutions – synagogues and other houses of worship, schools, social groups, places of employment, etc. - to be safer for those who have been abused (you most likely don't know who they are).
  • Challenge - stories and jokes that condone abuse or otherwise promote disrespect.

Journey to Safety can help you figure out what you can do to help make your community safer. Together we can create a community that is more responsive to those who have been abused and safer for all of us. Please join me from this day forward in becoming part of the solution to ending violence against women. Wear a white ribbon on March 3 – or pass one on to a male friend or loved one - and make a difference!

About Me
I am a clinical psychologist by training and for the last 16 years have been the CEO of JF&CS of Greater Boston. I am interested in photography, art, and music. I try to combine these with a great deal of enthusiasm about travel. Visit my blog, WorldWideSy.