This past week, the entertainment industry said goodbye to one of it’s legends: Whitney Houston. The pop icon and many-time Grammy Awards winner was known for her phenomenal singing, as well as for starring in movies like The Bodyguard and Waiting to Exhale. She was only 48.
The cause of Houston’s death is still unknown. What is known is that Houston struggled for many years with substance abuse and alcohol addiction. It is also known that her relationship with husband Bobby Brown was, as her New York Times obituary put it, “marred by drug use and by his professional jealousy, psychological abuse and physical confrontations.”
While Houston’s talent was a rarity, domestic violence is unfortunately all too common. Physical, mental and sexual abuse within a domestic context are societal problems that impact both the famous and not, adults and children, men – and primarily women. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, “an estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.” Meanwhile, the Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse reports that, “abuse occurs in Jewish families at about the same rate as in the general community – about 15% – and the abuse takes place among all branches of Judaism and at all socio-economic levels.”
In honor of Houston’s legacy – and especially today on Valentine’s Day, when thoughts of love and partnership are in the air – make a commitment to helping people facing domestic abuse and domestic violence. Here are some organizations that are doing great work:
- Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance: Check out JOFA’s comprehensive list of domestic violence-related resources, books and websites.
- Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse: This organization supports and empowers victims of domestic abuse. Sign up to be a part of their Volunteer Corps.
- National Domestic Violence Hotline: Volunteer to answer calls and provide support to abuse victims through this national hotline.
- Safe Horizon: Volunteer as a childcare assistant, tutor, program assistant – or in many other ways – for this organization, which is dedicated to providing services and support to victims of abuse and violence.