Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I’d like to address an issue that is not often discussed, if at all, but should be as its consequences are always bitter, hateful and destructive. Let me explain.
In all of the letters I sent you in the past, I championed the miserable lot in which agunot, divorcees and abused women find themselves. The men they married are, in general, egotistic brutes, violent and domineering, who infuse fear and destruction in the home and whose families are chained to these monsters for many years.
Sadly, a new situation has arisen which needs our attention – that of women becoming the abusers. These women use their children as weapons to punish their husbands for their “misdeeds” and we have come across many an innocent husband/father, who suffer when their children are turned against them by vindictive, scorned wives with revenge and retribution as their sole motive. What follows is a small example of a budding problem.
I personally know of a wonderful, generous man, a sterling human being, who has been denied access to his daughter for 37 years. During those long years, the wife poisoned their daughter’s mind against him, his thousands of letters and messages were returned to him unopened and marked “address unknown.” The hatred and poisonous diatribe fed to his child by her vindictive mother robbed him of her childhood years and the hope of any connection or relationship with her father was killed.
When this daughter got married, the father found out from a friend and attempted to see her for a few minutes before the chuppah, just to wish her mazel tov and give her a brocha. She refused to see him and had security escort him out. Needless to say, his tears could have filled an ocean. Only recently, with chassdei Hashem and the efforts and involvement of many caring individuals, father and daughter reconciled. Although grateful for this miracle, the father will forever mourn all those lost years of pain and longing.
Another such case is that of a man who lives in my neighborhood, a tremendous baal middos, sensitive and caring. He is literally dying inside because his wife refuses to allow him to have any contact with his six children, regardless of the fact that there is a court order to the contrary, which is upheld by a psak from Beis Din. She has poisoned the children against him and coached and instructed each one to inform their individual court-appointed attorneys that they absolutely refuse to see their father. Children often do as they’re told. Eight long, dark and bitter years have gone by, he can hardly recognize them from the pictures that others send him. The strangest thing is that he has a close relationship with his in-laws who love and support him, since their daughter has forbidden them and the rest of the family from seeing or having any contact with her children. She has cut off the children from everyone who loves them. Any move by the father to reach out to his children is now stymied by court orders and threats of arrest, issued by cold and indifferent judges who base their decisions on what they hear from these brain-washed children. But he persists in his futile efforts to see them, despite the dark cloud hovering over him and the paralytic fear of incarceration. He does not give up and forges, through his tears, to fight for them.
And the heartache continues.
Over the years I’ve been witness to the beatings and the torture inflicted by violent men on so many of our daughters. I’ve seen the inside of shelters where women who have been horribly abused are forced to hide and I’ve seen the haunting look of fear in children’s eyes just at the mention of their fathers. I’ve championed these women and children and fight for their freedom. But abuse and violence are double-edged swords and I can’t shut my eyes to this injustice. Fathers who are torn from their children bleed and suffer, though with the men you can’t see any outward markings as broken hearts bleed internally.
I have chosen to stand for them as well and give them a voice. It takes a subhuman kind of hate to tear children away from a father’s love. When a marriage ends, love for one’s child does not, and children should not be withheld from either parent by the other. They are not bargaining chips or goods to be divided in the spoils of that war. I hope this will cause many to take a step back and work with me to create an even and just playing field.
Thank you for allowing me to make my case and to enlighten the Klal about men who are suffering as much as the women by way of lies and hate-filled vengeance.
Isaac Kohn, SVP
Prime Care Consultants
I know Isaac Kohn for many years, fighting side by side with him for the plight of agunot and women in divorce. As he said, we have seen the ravages of destruction and the brutality of hatred visited upon defenseless women and children by controlling, cruel and hateful men.
I am sharing his letter, because, like the noble and modest champion that he is, he needs to spread the word that the only thing that has changed in the last thirty years, is that the battle rages on and the worriers have gotten older.
I, too, have seen a change in the number of men who are victims. There seems to be a budding role reversal, with women becoming bolder and more aggressive and willing to employ any means to get what they want, or simply just to twist the knife. I’ve seen many “walking dead” ripped away from their children through the black-hearted tactics of vindictive spouses, and I know there is more than one way to kill a person.
I also know that one must never forget that Hashem watches, He does not sleep or go on vacation, and that there is no greater judge than He. So while all the warring parties are busy trying to massacre each other on the courtroom floor, Hakodosh Boruch Hu will be caring for the innocent young ones who are the true victims of divorce and He will be waiting to meet out true judgement.
Isaac Kohn can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org.