Hi Lior (Lior is a pseudonym. Her real name is safeguarded in my heart),
Once upon a time when I was a student, we lived in the same building. We’d exchange hellos, chat, laugh, gossip… You had two perfect little children. They’d come to visit me from time to time.
When I baked sweet challahs on Fridays, I’d bring you one for Shabbat.
In our building we could hear everything. Anyone who went up or down the stairs, knocking, talking, and shouting.
Lior, I heard you too.
I heard you shouting, I heard you crying, I heard the beatings, I heard you defending yourself, I heard objects crashing, I heard the ground burning. I also heard the calm after the storm.
You know, on nights when you fought him and cried, I cried with you.
I was a young, scared student back then. I called the police a few times.
I was scared he’d know it was me who called them. The police came and went, and the beatings continued.
After those nights you’d hide, you’d avert your eyes. You didn’t have to say a word. We both knew.
In the end, after one of those brutal nights, I decided to look for an address of someone who could help you. I found an NGO that helps battered women. I begged them to help you. I wanted to remain anonymous, but I gave them your number.
A long time has passed since then. We moved to another building; I never saw you again.
Until I bumped into you one day. You were getting out of a car with a man I didn’t know. You were in advanced stages of pregnancy.
You said: “Meet my husband”. You’d remarried. I saw the light in your eyes, your sense of triumph.
I was so happy that you’d reclaimed your right to a healthy relationship, to love, to a corrective experience, to a family.
At least that’s what I hoped. And that’s what I hope to this day.
Lior, you are my hero