Abuse survivor on life in prison: You can't imagine how bad it is

©The Jerusalem Post

Prison cell block (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

"How strong can a woman be? How much can she run?"
Those were the words that Dalal Daoud told The Jerusalem Post as she told of the story that had been so viral throughout Israel only some years prior: The story of the savage abuse she endured by her husband up until the point in which she murdered him.
Dalal Daoud, a woman from northern Israel who had become famous for murdering her husband after enduring years of abuse and sexual assault from him. (Photo credit: Sapir Sluzker Amran)
Daoud's story was famous throughout Israel after a study had been done throughout the prison she had been locked up in for 18 years following the murder. She had spoken to the woman running the study after being silent since entering prison and her words had reached the Knesset floor.
A young woman from an Arab village in northern Israel, she was in her second marriage by age 19.
The relationship was abusive from start to finish. "When it got dark and I went home, I knew what was waiting for me," Daoud said tearfully, explaining that she had entered the relationship not even knowing what rape is. She thought she was the problem until some time into the abuse.
She described her experiences, one day prior to the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, as nothing short of terror. "I was always between life and death," she said. "I did not want to return home after the birth of my son, but I did when he was two days old. Two days after that, [my husband] began to throw things at my four-day-old son. He tried to rape me in front of the children."
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Daoud explained that she could not think of anything, not consequences or anything; all she could think of was being free of the torment when she killed her husband.
Daoud described prison as the darkest time of her life. "Imagine prison," she said. "Whatever you are imagining, it's far, far worse."
Even today, the pain of her experiences in prison stays with her, with "every gas station, every scream, every jingle of a key" reminding her of prison.
After 18 long years of imprisonment and with her voice reaching a public audience, people began to know her name, and they spoke up for her, stating that her actions were taken in self-defense.
"It wasn't easy to build my life anew when I left," she said. "I didn't have anyone. I am lucky to say that I have friends and I had people that support me, but to stand on my legs anew is very difficult.
"The difficulty is: How strong can a woman be?" she asked. "How can she run? I do not have time, I have to run to live. It's to prove to people that I don't want or need anyone."
Daoud speaks out on the issue of domestic abuse in her public speaking events throughout the country. She intends to educate the public on the tragic mishandling of domestic abuse.
"Everyone saw what was happening to me and no one said anything," she told the Post. "If I wasn't as strong as I am, I would not be alive today after I went through there."
She explained that she takes part in activism to try and bring better support for women who are leaving prison. "I want a law in the Knesset that a woman leaving prison be given something to live off of so she doesn't return to prison out of nothing else to do with herself," she explained. "I was lucky to stand on my own two feet. Others aren't as lucky. A woman who leaves prison, the first thing she wants is a home with a warm bed. But this doesn't exist. What will these girls do, get thrown in the street?"
Daoud additionally works with the Breaking Walls movement, which seeks to advance the rights of women and protect them in cases much like Daoud's. She believes that there is a sort of double standard in the way men and women are treated after leaving prison, as a man would never have trouble standing on his own two feet and finding a job, but women oftentimes end up on the street without anything better to do to improve their situation.All rights reserved © The Jerusalem Post 1995 - 2020Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc.

Dalal Daoud, a woman from northern Israel who had become famous for murdering her husband after enduring years of abuse and sexual assault from him. (Photo credit: Sapir Sluzker Amran)