Consent

In my sleep I feel the constant buzz of my phone, I will my eyes to open. Above me I see the harsh fluorescent light , under my head is cool hard tile.
Once again I have fallen asleep next to the toilet. I am ill with the malady known as pregnancy. I spend my days serving my insides to the porcelain throne, and sometimes I succumb to the exhaustion.

I get up, stretching my achey joints, purposely avoiding my phone.
I press my ear to the bedroom door listening for sounds of my baby. I silently thank gd for the silence.

I slowly drag myself to the kitchen to get a cup of water. I drink it slowly, purposefully, I know what happens if I drink too fast.

It can’t be avoided no matter how I sip the water, I run to the toilet once again, as I have been doing for weeks.
Seeing blood in the toilet, I laugh, thinking about how this isn’t alarming for me anymore.

When I finish, I very carefully bring myself to the couch, and steel myself to look at the phone.
We had had a big fight earlier, about me not being an attentive and loving wife.
I prepare myself to read the mean text messages.

Instead I read
“ I miss you, I’m so sorry for how I acted.”
“ please come to bed and talk to me”
“ I’m waiting for you in my bed “
“ can you come to my bed please “
“Are you coming?”
“I’m waiting “

My heart sunk, this was worse for me than name calling.
I respond
“I have been throwing up blood for a few hours, I don’t feel well.”

In my heart I wish for loving words of comfort, or at least an offering of water, but I know it is for naught.

I hear our bedroom door softly creak open and I plummet.
He starts, gently begging me to come join him.
I put on my best sick and tired face, and say that I am not feeling it.

He took a deep breath and used the most regretful tone,
“If you want to save our marriage, you will come, it’s of vital importance for us to be together. If you don’t come to my bed now I will call my divorce lawyer tomorrow.”

“I don’t want to get divorced.“ I start to cry.
“We have little kids, I’m pregnant, I’m sick and not feeling well, please just give me a chance.”

He stonewalls me “This is your one chance, it’s now or never, you are lucky I’m even attracted to you with all this weight you have gained.”

My emotional and physical lethargy turn to anger.
I dig my heels in, call him what he is, for making a sickly
Pregnant woman feel the way he does.

“My siblings, my parents, they all have more kids than YOU and they make it work, you can’t keep it together, take responsibility, stop using your pregnancy as an excuse.”

I’ve heard these words so many times. And it always ends the same.

And here I am falling over myself crying, apologizing for not being as good as everyone else. I just want to be like everyone else, if I am, maybe things will be better.

The gentle nudges for us to go to bed together begin again and I remember. I am niddah. Now he will have to leave me alone .

“I know you don’t care about that stuff.”

I do, it’s important to me, please respect me.

“I spoke to my lawyer and he said I have a good case for getting full custody of the kids.”

My stomach drops, his implied threats chill me to my bone, as they always do.

I follow him, and again remind him that I am sick and not feeling well, and I don’t feel comfortable doing this, can we do something else, anything else?

Deaf ears.

I’m nauseous, using all of my power to not throw up and ruin the sheets, thinking about all the laundry I need to do as it is. I really don’t feel well, I just need a break …
My thoughts are interrupted.
“Why can’t you pretend to be enjoying this?”
I am not feeling well, I say, I think I may throw up.
“I know you hate me.”
I don’t argue.
“Why do you hate me so much ?”

I turn my head, jump off the bed and make it to the bathroom, missing the toilet.

I focus my devastation on the fact that I now have to scrub my vomit off the bathroom walls, the stench only further turning my stomach.

After a week of terrorizing guilt I call a rabbi, I want to be comforted about the fact that I broke the laws of taharas hamishpacha. It’s been eating away at me.
I tell him I didn’t want to do it.
“But, you still did it ?” He asks.
I tell him I didn’t feel like I had a choice.
“But, you still did it?” He asks.

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5 Comments

  1. JLB February 25, 2019 at 11:29 am

    I don’t know this woman and I don’t know her whole story, but I have two words of advice: 1) Don’t listen to your husband’s abusive tirades about how a judge would give him custody. She should document her bruises, bloody toilets and any other evidence and no judge in this world would give him the kids. 2) FIND. A. NEW. RABBI.

    Reply
  2. esther February 25, 2019 at 12:50 pm

    This is the biggest downfall of being conservative from a religious standpoint, (defined as slow, to the point of glacial, to change) is failure to grow, even in the face of overwhelming evidence of the need to do so. The Catholic Church is showing the world that to remain stuck in the face of overwhelming evidence of being out of touch with G-d’s will exposes the truth, of the exceedingly flawed humans we turn to for guidance. No person of true faith could believe that the damage done by denying and hiding child abuse over and over for decades is the will of G-d. To say the world is built on Torah, service, and acts of lovingkindness and turn a blind eye the humiliation this woman has had to endure shouts not of hypocrisy but of a total inability to grasp basic fundamentals of Torah at all. It is my firm belief that niddah is one way in which Hashem, with infinite wisdom, protects those who may be vulnerable, particularly women after giving birth, or pregnant. To have an unwilling violation of the laws of taharas hamishpacha thrown in her face is a desecration of G-ds law and not simply lack of basic compassion but a furthering the abuse in an institutional setting. Torah is with us to elevate humanity, showing anything but the upmost compassion, and failing to protect this woman distances us from Hashem.

    Reply
  3. Loving Neshama March 10, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    I am so sorry for what you are going through. No one should ever have to go through something like that. What your Rabbi said is so messed up. I really hope that you can find someone you trust that can help you in this situation. Soon. I am so hurt for you. Sending love your way. You are enough. You are strong. You are not alone.

    Reply
  4. I hear you March 13, 2019 at 7:07 pm

    So brave of you for sharing this. You are in a difficult position. Please seek some professional help for yourself. You dont deserve to be treated this way. You are valuable and precious. I hear your pain and your dilema and urge you to find a professional who can help you with your situation.

    Reply
  5. Luftmentsch April 22, 2019 at 8:43 am

    I saw this a week or two ago and can’t stop thinking about it, so I wanted to come back and comment. I’m not a rabbi, but I can’t believe HaShem would punish you for this. Your husband threatened to take away your children, which is something that would be worse for
    a mother than being threatened with death. Your husband is abusing you, your husband raped you. Please don’t beat yourself up about this. HaShem still loves you. I agree with the other commenters that you are strong, please try to find professional help. You do not deserve this.

    Reply

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