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Linda, like many women, did not share her
situation with her family or friends. When
Gutman noticed her face was bruised, she
told him she had fallen down the stairs. A
few days before her murder, she revealed
that her husband, Michael Binder, had
been abusing her for more than a year.
"Linda was the light of my parents' lifer
said Gutman, his voice breaking.
"I remember asking her over and over
again, Are you safe? Are you safe? Are you
safe?' I have come to understand through
the years that many times these situations
are kept quiet, but if I would have known,
with God as my witness, I would have
Binder had come to Linda's West
Bloomfield home that night, saying he
wanted to see their 3-year-old son, Justin,
who had surgery earlier that day. Linda's
parents were visiting; her father had gone
out to pick up dinner when Binder arrived.
Justin was upstairs sleeping.
"He pulled out a gun;' Gutman said. "My
mother told him to put the gun down.
He hit my mother on the side of the
head with the butt of the gun and was
shooting wildly at Linda. My mother was
shouting, 'Linda run!'"
Binder began firing the gun at Linda. After
shooting her, he left and drove to Hebrew
Memorial Park, where he shot and killed
himself in front of the cemetery gates.
10 January 19 • 2012
According to Chute, physical abuse occurs
What Is Domestic Abuse?
in one out of five homes in the United
According to Ellen Yashinsky Chute, chief
States today. About 95 percent of the vic-
outreach coordinator for Jewish Family
tims are women. One in three women in
Service, domestic abuse is not caused by
this country has been or will be in an abu-
short tempers or poor anger manage-
sive relationship during her lifetime.
ment skills — it is a dynamic based on
Furthermore, those who believe that
power and control. Over time, the coercion
Jewish families are immune from
escalates and the behavior
domestic abuse may be surprised
becomes increasingly aggres-
to learn that the incidence among
sive and angry.
Jews is the same as in the general
"'Walking on eggshells' is
the most common expression I
"Domestic abuse is an equal-
hear;' Chute said.
opportunity offender;' Chute said.
Although physical violence
"It reaches across socioeconomic,
often occurs, abuse can take
racial and religious lines:'
other forms: verbal insults,
Ellen Yash insky
When noted author, rabbi and
threats, financial control or
psychiatrist Dr. Abraham Twerski
limiting or forbidding contact
wrote his 1996 book, The Shame
with family and friends.
Borne in Silence: Spouse Abuse in the
"He blames her, she blames herself —
Jewish Community, he was criticized by
it's a 'perfect storm of a dynamic;' Chute
many Jewish colleagues.
said. "They both believe if she could only
The book, which dispelled many myths
change, the relationship would be better."
about Jews and domestic abuse, aroused
Chute said the relationship can be sal-
vaged if the batterer acknowledges that he so much outrage when it was first pub-
lished that Twerski needed police protec-
needs to change; however, many men are
tion at his lectures. Today, he believes
unwilling or unable to do. Some abusers
there is still a need for education within
grew up in an atmosphere of "male privi-
lege;' where they are taught it is a woman's the Jewish community.
"There is greater awareness now, but
job to take care of them. The single biggest
there is still too much denial;' he said.
risk factor is witnessing abuse as a child;
"Many rabbis give poor advice because
then it becomes learned behavior.
they are not aware of spouse abuser
"Why do men do it?" Chute asked. "The
To that end, Leonard Gutman talked of
answer is because they can:'
his sister's abuse and murder in an upcom-
ing training video that Jewish Family
Service is creating to increase awareness
about domestic violence in the Jewish
community. The video will be shown to
groups at local synagogues, schools, par-
ent groups and other civic organizations.
Rivkah (not her real name), a member of
the local Orthodox community, did not
discover the extent of Jacob's temper until
after they married.
"I know I could not live with someone
with a temper;' said Rivkah, who had
grown up with a father who had raged at
the family on a regular basis. "Everyone I
asked said he didn't have a temper"
Once she and Jacob were married, his
genteel facade gave way. He became criti-
cal, verbally abusive and explosive.
"We had our first fight within months;'
Rivkah said. "I remember him stand-
ing across from me and smashing a cup
against the wall:' When Rivkah expressed
her dismay, her husband said a man
should be free to be himself at home. "If
I'd known [about his temper], I wouldn't
have married him:'
As the years passed, the abuse escalated.
Jacob unleashed his wrath on the couple's
five children, destroying their belongings
in fits of rage. He forced himself sexually
upon his wife, telling her it was her duty to