WIZO has a Men’s Hotline – the only one of its kind in Israel – to triage men who are violent and guide them toward therapy and help.
Igor Kotovsky is from Netanya. And he is just one of many men whose life has changed as a result of a simple phone call.
Here is his story in his own words.
I immigrated to Israel from Uzbekistan in 1990. I come from a violent family. My father was a drinker and would hit my mother and me. My mother also occasionally beat me up as part of the Russian upbringing. I was a violent teenager who was beaten up at school and I thought that’s how the world works. Everyone fights, and the strong one wins. When I immigrated to Israel, I was beaten by Israelis who didn’t accept me as Russian.
I got married at 20 and then got divorced. After, I went out with someone and we had a quarrel and she broke a bottle of beer on the floor. To stop her, I tried to strangle her throat. I didn’t want to strangle her completely. I saw that at that moment she stopped defending herself. After that fight, I locked myself in the bedroom and she called the police. I was arrested. More than once. At the time, I didn’t realize I was recreating my father.
After my 4th arrest, a judge sent me to a probation officer who said, ‘Either you go into detention for 90 days or you go to treatment for violence.’ I asked, ‘Why do I need treatment?’ She replied: ‘Don’t you know you’re a violent man?’ At that time, I truly didn’t think of myself that way.
Igor Kotovsky was sent to a hostel from which he could only go to work, and then, for a year, to intensive treatment every day from noon to evening at “Beit Noam.” This is a therapeutic home for men who are violent in their relationships and is funded by the Ministry of Labor and Social Welfare and is operated by the Keshet nonprofit.
At first, I thought that this treatment was to avoid imprisonment, a way to evade prison time. I don’t know when it dawned on me that I really needed treatment. I underwent individual psychological therapy and group therapy. We explored there who we were, where the violence came from, we went into all kinds of corners of the psyche that alone you can’t reach. I started to know myself. And I started to change.
From that one phone call to WIZO’s Men’s Hotline, Igor’s life began to change. Today, he leads group therapy for Beit Noam graduates and is in a new, and healthy, relationship.