My Journey to Freedom: Escaping an Arranged Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Marriage
It was the holiday of Simchat Torah, and as I sat behind the thick, heavy curtain on the women’s side of the synagogue, a friend turned to tell me that her 17-year-old daughter was engaged. As I watched women and girls trying to catch a glimpse of the dancing men through a crack in the partition, I commented on the young age of the bride.
“That’s the way we do it,” my friend said, smiling. “Marry them off when they’re young and dumb.” She then launched into the usual: The couple would grow up together. They would get to know each other. They would eventually love each other.
I know all about young and dumb. At 19, I was set up with a boy and we were engaged six dates later, the usual time frame in the ultra-orthodox community. Girls are sent off into marriages without even the most rudimentary knowledge of their own bodies, reproduction or sex.
Girls are taught to marry, have children and serve their husbands, and the indoctrination starts early. College and career are frowned upon — for obvious reasons. College is a way out. Career is a way out. And no one wants us getting out.
The article’s author does belong to a support & advocacy group called “Unchained at Last”.