Ladies: Enjoy your food this Shabbos.

For the Jewish ladies: Shabbos (the Sabbath) starts soon. Can you relate to this scenario?

You prepare food, but in your mind it is for “the family”—not you.

Why? You’re too fat! You don’t deserve anything! “Grabbing” at food is beneath you! Not modest!

The voice in your head, the drumroll: “Take little bites, little tastes.” And then when everyone else has gone to sleep, “gobble gobble.”

Please do not live your life this way.

The topic came to my mind when I watched a video interview of Nina Aoulik, a survivor of horrific, decades-long abuse. Part of it was her being forced into marriage at 15. Her father had been raping her — SHE was the problem — and so the “husband” (also her rapist) would save the family’s “honor.”

The mother in law put her in a cupboard area to sleep, no door, and she was constantly, again, being raped and groped and degraded.

The mother in law used to take her food and throw it in the garbage can and make her take it out from there if she wanted to eat.

So awful. So disgusting. So symbolic of the second class status of women in some cultures. So emblematic of the link between being degraded, to being dehumanized, to being assaulted, and even, God forbid, to being killed with impunity.

Finally she just stopped eating.

The story goes on from there, and it is tragic. And she nearly died.

But the Nina survived and rebuilt. She discovered her worth. She is living a happy, healthy life, with her children around her, helping other survivors.

And she eats!

You can’t be alive without nourishing yourself, either.

It’s not virtuous to use food as a weapon against yourself.

So this Shabbos, eat the food you bought or cooked, and enjoy it.

Good Shabbos.

By Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal (Dossy). All opinions are the author’s own.