Adopted by the 101st Annual Convention of the Central Conference of American Rabbis
Seattle, Washington, June 1990
Physical violence against women is not news. Throughout history, women have been victimized by acts of aggression predominantly attributable to men. Although those acts have a sexual component, they are primarily expressions of anger and hatred. Typically, both in terms of intent and consequences, these acts constitute recognized crimes including rape, date rape, assault and battery, sexual harassment in the workplace, and domestic violence.
Societal institutions have been and continue to be non-responsive to the victimization of women. Few law enforcement agencies have aggressive policies that enable them to pursue the arrest and prosecution of men who commit these violent crimes. Prosecutors exercise unrestricted discretion when deciding whether to issue a warrant and on what basis. Judges may be impacted by their own bias, which holds the victim responsible for her own victimization.
THEREFORE, the Central Conference of American Rabbis resolves to:
1. Heighten the awareness of the issue of violence against women through education programs within the congregations, drawing on the resources of the UAHC, CCAR, NFTS, NFTB, and NFTY, incorporating such programs into religious schools, youth groups, and adult education;
2. Call for the development of specific educational programs confronting date rapes;
3. Call for a plenary program at the convention in 1991, as part of ongoing programs on this subject;
4. Support and demand vigorous enforcement of existing laws prohibiting all forms of violence, including domestic, against women and encourage legislative reforms at the state, provincial, and local level where necessary;
5. Encourage local police departments, judges, prosecutors, and crown attorneys to attend training courses sensitizing them to the issues of violence against women, including the often misunderstood seriousness of domestic violence;
6. Promote the formation of local programs to aid women who are survivors of violence and to prevent future violence. Such programs include, but are not limited to, shelters for women and their children, self-defense training, and behavior modification for batterers;
7. Join the effort of other groups to launch a massive campaign that will address these issues.