• Domestic violence in the Baltimore Orthodox Jewish community: An exploration of prevalence, dynamics, and patterns by women who have reported abuse

      Freedman, Michael Bruce; Cornelius, Llewellyn Joseph, 1959- (2005)
      This study explores religious, psychological, and sociological dynamics of domestic violence in the Baltimore Jewish community especially the Orthodox community. The Baltimore Jewish community of 91,400 practices Judaism along a continuum from Orthodox to unaffiliated. The Orthodox Jewish community comprises 21% of Jews. Secondary analysis from a convenience sample by Ephross (1996) was used. There were 1,534 respondents, an approximately 10% response rate. Jewish denomination was dichotomized to Orthodox and non-Orthodox due to rigidity of religious gender roles for women in Orthodoxy and more egalitarian roles in non-Orthodoxy. Gender Role Theory and an Adapted Norton's Dual Perspective (The Tri-Perspective) were presented to explain abuse in the Jewish community. Patriarchy was assumed to promote violence as a mechanism of control especially in the Orthodox. Chi-squares analyses were used to explore associations for different types of abuse (physical, verbal, threatened, begged for money, property destroyed, and forced sex). Demographic characteristics (age, education, and employment) were examined by denomination. Additionally, awareness and seriousness of domestic violence in the Jewish community were examined. Finally, chi-squares analyses were used to explore to whom abuse was reported, responses received, and reasons for non-reporting by denomination. Findings indicate that abuse in the total sample (more than a single incident) is commensurate with that in the general population. Significant findings indicate that it may be more likely for non-Orthodox women to experience both physical and verbal abuse than Orthodox women in this sample. All other results were non-significant. Gender Role Theory and The Tri-Perspective were helpful in explaining domestic violence in the Jewish community. The Discussion section presents several unique dynamics of abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community including institutional cognitive dissonance, denial, and failure of community mobilization, especially rabbinic. There are several components of Jewish law that limit and hamper the confrontation of this problem. Implications for practice, theory, and policy for those who work within the Jewish community are furnished. Education and training of rabbis and lay leaders are vital. Recommendations for future research are provided. A literature review is included.