#MeToo Seen Sparking More Domestic Abuse Complaints

#MeToo Seen Sparking More Domestic Abuse Complaints

The #Me Too movement has triggered a sharp increase in the past year in the number of women here filing domestic abuse complaints against their husbands, according to the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty.

“It could be that women are more comfortable in speaking out and getting help,” said Nechama Bakst, director of family violence services at Met Council. “It’s no longer taboo. People feel more comfortable talking about it because it affects every community.”

David Greenfield, Met Council’s chief executive officer, noted that the number of domestic abuse complaints his agency handled jumped from 701 in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2017, to 841 in the last fiscal year, an increase of 20 percent.

“Clients have told us that they now feel more comfortable coming forward because there is more awareness of the issue than there was in the past,” he said. “This is an issue that has become part of the public discussion and hopefully there is less of a stigma surrounding it.” (About half of the clients Met Council serves are Jewish.)

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Lori Weinstein, CEO of Jewish Women International, which is dedicated to empowering women and girls through physical and economic security, said she is not surprised by the increase in reported cases.

“What those of us who work in the field know is that this is part of an entire tapestry where oppressive behavior, violence, rape, sexual assault and domestic abuse are all part of the continuum of violence,” she said. “The #Me Too movement has been a catalyst for people to feel more compelled to speak out and be willing to speak out; for many, they feel more of an urgency to speak out. For many people, there is still a stigma that is associated with speaking out, but the hope is that the more people who speak out, the more we take…

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