Not in any community

December 11, 2020 by Kirsten Young
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Melbourne’s Jewish Care and Unchain My Heart hosted a virtual event in support of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, titled Not In Our Community – Not In Any Community.

The event sought to raise awareness of the impacts of coercive control, a particularly destructive form of family violence often referred to as ‘intimate terrorism’, and its intersection with gett refusal.

The event featured two outstanding keynote speakers: investigative journalist Jess Hill (author of the award-winning See What You Made Me Do) and gett refusal expert Joanne Greenaway (CEO of the London School of Jewish Studies), who addressed the audience from their respective homes in Sydney and the United Kingdom.

Hill shared a shattering account of coercive control in Australia, while Greenaway explored the impacts of gett refusal and the ways in which Jewish communities can respond. The event, including a question and answer session, was moderated by Jewish Care’s Program Manager of Healthy Communities Cassandra Barrett and Chair of Unchain My Heart Yael Hersham.

“It was incredibly heartening to see the strong engagement from those in attendance,” said Barrett. “This is clearly an issue on which our community will no longer remain silent. For too long we have been naïve to the fact that family violence occurs in our community, holding on to the belief that “good Jewish families” are somehow immune. Jess Hill’s account, coupled with the cultural relevance of Joanne Greenaway’s address, showed that this is absolutely untrue.”

“With the increasing dialogue regarding the criminalisation of coercive control in Australia and the growing recognition of gett abuse as a form of family violence by both secular and religious courts, this event could not have been more timely,” added Hersham.

Event proceeds will be shared by Jewish Care and Unchain My Heart to support efforts to end family violence in our community.

The event followed a number of activities held in support of the 16 Days of Activism, including the Jewish community Walk Against Family Violence and a coffee cup awareness campaign.

Jewish Care gratefully acknowledges the financial support of corporate sponsors Sound Insurance and MaxCap group, and the extensive efforts of the Family Violence Committee.

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