Nadav was a quiet boy, well-mannered and gentle. His mother was a widow who put her heart and soul into raising her only child, and he was a credit to her. He was studious and excelled in his school work.
When his mother remarried, his world fell apart. He became introverted, and his studies suffered. When his teachers tried to engage him, he would stare out of the window careful not to look them in the eye. Eventually, he confided in the school counselor that every night he would lay in bed listening to his mother screaming, while his new step-father lashed out at her verbally and physically. Nadav went to sleep with tears in his eyes to the sound of loud thumps. The one time that he tried to come to the defense of his mother, his new step-father pushed him out of the way, knocking him to the ground.
After hearing this, the school immediately initiated the process for him to be transferred to a WIZO Youth Village.
When he first came to the WIZO Youth Village, Nadav was very anxious, displaying the classic signs of witnessing domestic abuse; he blamed his mother, herself the victim, for his overwhelming fear, poor concentration, difficulties in coming to terms with puberty and limited social skills. Slowly but surely, he responded well to therapy from WIZO counselors under whose care he was placed. He was equipped with a range of cognitive, emotional and physiological tools to help him cope. With patient guidance from teachers and village personnel, he regained his enthusiasm for study, and he adapted well to living in the dormitory. Although he was still worried about the safety of his mother, he was more able to deal with his own personal feelings. When his mother visited him at the youth village, counselors were always present to assess her needs, too. In the framework of ‘working with the family’ Nadav’s mother also received much-needed therapy and support to build up her own self-esteem. She is taking steps to regain her independence by retraining for a new career.
Nadav is popular and helpful and regards the dormitories as home. He enjoys excellent grades in his school work. His relationship with his mother, which was so fractured when the step-father was on the scene, is becoming close once again.
With WIZO’s help, both mother and son have received the support to enable them to stand up, head held high, and face the future with renewed confidence and to control the negative influences that had threatened to tear them apart.
Nadav’s mother is so grateful to the WIZO Youth Village for the part they have played in repairing the damage to her son that she once blamed herself for, when she was also a victim.
(Names changed to preserve anonymity)
(Photo for illustration purposes only)