Monday, November 18, 2019 -
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In good families

The crazy thing is, I have a friend on Facebook whose friend is a murderer. When you go to my  Facebook friend’s page, the top message is to the other friend: “Please tell me you didn’t do it???” followed by sobbing emojis.

The message below reads: 

“I hope they are mistaken about this whole situation and it’s not you. I just couldn’t believe it would be you,” followed by more expressions of shock and dismay and more broken hearts and sobbing emojis.

The other day, this young Israeli guy murdered his wife.

Their Facebook page tells a different story. You see a loving couple. An adorable baby. Scenic photos with what appears to be a young loving family in the foreground.

It’s just that now the wife and mother is dead, stabbed by her husband with a kitchen knife.

She was a social worker. He worked with at risk youth. Put together, two idealistic professions.

It’s creepy how these days you have intimate access to a stranger’s Facebook page, to this murderer’s Facebook page, to see urgent and alarming messages from close friends; to witness the unfolding reaction, in real time of some of his inner circle, to the horror. To see lead up photos to the bitter day, photos that reflect an image of a “good family.”

When you think of domestic violence, this couple is not the picture that comes to mind. Let’s be honest, when you think of domestic violence, stereotypes kick in. Low socioeconomic level. Low quality of life. Uneducated. Unemployed. Race. Fill in the blank.

This story shatters all those stereotypes.

A loving couple who seemed “normal” has succumbed to domestic violence. 

The wife was murdered, in her very own household.

Because it is, thankfully, such an aberration, it is a shocking story.

And because the image of the couple breaks stereotypes, it has rippled in the community that much more.

This heartbreaking story has put a mirror up to all of us: the potential for violence lives within each and every one of us. Men and women. Domestic or otherwise.

If we don’t work on reigning in our reactions from a young age, a monster can grow inside us. Maybe you once broke an object out of a rising temper. Maybe you stopped yourself at an aggressive point before it got physical. Maybe you constantly work on yourself so as to prevent ever letting a violent temper get the better of you.

We are all at risk of potential violence. None of us is immune.

Here was a nice young guy who dedicated his life to working with at risk youth — who now has blood on his hands. The blood of his spouse. Of his baby’s mother.

A young father who loved his family, but lost it. In dangerous proportions. Immediately following the murder, encased in his wife’s blood, he ran to the neighbor’s house. He seems to have been an ordinary guy who did have a conscience, whose immediate reaction was to run to a neighbor and get help. Not cover it up.

I know. To us the story is anathema. We recoil with being identified with a murderer. “We would NEVER do that” we say to ourselves. Thankfully, most of us wouldn’t. Not even close. We do not carry tempers that are even remotely in the danger zone of anything even resembling violence.

Yet, how many times, if behaviors have not been worked on, internalized, regulated, could they have potentially turned into that of a monster rearing its ugly head?

Some people are predisposed to violence. Awareness needs to be there so the urge for violence can be subdued. Or better yet, re-directed.

I don’t mean something as severe as murder, of course; the most extreme form of violence on the spectrum. But, G-d forbid, a slap; even shattering an inanimate object out of boiling rage. Or a non-physical form of violence: detrimental words or shouting.

This slain woman’s death commands us “normal people” to take stock because on some level we are all at risk for violence. To different degrees, and it’s a shifting target, sometimes down to the most nuanced reactions, nonetheless we are all constantly working through, learning to manage and refine our emotional terrain so that our responses are as reigned in and as noble as possible.

Whether you are a man or a woman, if you are suffering from abuse, from domestic violence, please reach out to appropriate safety networks and know that there are people behind you who will help and be there for you as you navigate this painful and complex situation, while maintaining your complete confidentiality.

Because, unfortunately, violence can and does also happen in “good families.”

Copyright © 2019 by the Intermountain Jewish News



Tehilla R. Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park


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