In Israel, couples who are about to be married take pre-marital classes for brides and grooms. This is something standard, another thing to check off the list of wedding preparations. Over the years, in our encounters with women in the shelters and with women who experienced domestic violence in their marriage, we discovered that specific sentences they heard from their teachers stayed with them. Those sentences affected their decision by making them afraid of getting up and out of a life of suffering.
So when the YNR Center, the leading center for counseling and therapy, asked us to attend a lecture on domestic violence and speak about tour activities with pre-marital bridal counselors in the city, we immediately joined agreed.
The meetings with bridal instructors, or kallah teachers, are significant in the creating a transition from being a single woman to a married woman. The relationship and trust that develops between a bride and her teacher is an opportunity to identify, speak about and prevent situations related to violence and abuse.
Yael Saad and Revital Shoval from the City Without Violence program in Elad, in cooperation with Rabbi Asher Melamed, initiated a special workshop for bridal instructors which provides a professional toolbox for identifying and coping with violent patterns in a marriage.
The workshop included the development of listening skills, emotional containment and accompaniment alongside professional knowledge, familiarity with the existing responses to welfare agencies, a professional panel with representatives of the police, welfare and youth, etc. Among the lecturers were Rabbi Melamed, Dr. Nicole Dahan, Ms. Shalem and the personal testimony of a woman who had just left Bat Melech’s shelter