Friday, May 11, 2012

Enough is Enough - Stop Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse happens. It's not a good thing, and those that do it, should be punished to the full extent of the law.

But then you have the Ultra-Orthodox community, where not only is it not punished, but if the one who was abused says anything to authorities, THEY ARE THROWN OUT OF THE COMMUNITY?!

Now, who are we kidding, we've known about it for years, but when it makes the front page of the New York Times as it did yesterday (article here, which this post is based on), even the Ultra-Orthodox need to realize the problems.

To them, there is nothing worse than making a Chillul Hashem (Desecration of the Name of God), one of the reasons they keep the sexual abuse cases quiet. But now, not only are they making a Chillul Hashem, but their dirty laundry is getting aired to the public.

And then the Agudath Israel of America had to open their mouths...Rabbi Chaim Dovid Zweibel, Executive VP, said: "You can destroy a person's life with a false report". Rabbi Zweibel also stated that observant Jews should not report allegations to the police unless permitted to do so by a rabbi.

For starters Rabbi Zweibel, what about the person whose life is being destroyed because they are getting molested week after week, but aren't allowed to say anything?

And second, I bet, if any of these things happened to you, or a family member (and God forbid that they should), you would NOT be asking a Rabbi what to do. You'd be on the phone to 9-1-1 without thinking twice about it.

I praise Justice Guston L. Reichbach, who after being presented with a case of a man abusing 14 year olds, was bombarded with letters saying that the abuser was a nice man, and not one letter about concern for the abused, stated: "“While the crimes the defendant stands convicted of are bad enough, what is even more troubling to the court is a communal attitude that seems to impose greater opprobrium on the victims than the perpetrator.”

Or what about when a 14 year old boy is given $20 to help move boxes, and then is taken to a motel, de-pants-ed, and masturbated. When the abuser was arrested, Rabbi Israel Hager, of Monsey NY, called the child's mother, and asked that she not press charges in court. And then they expelled the child from school, because she wouldn't drop the charges, and told her that if she protests the expulsion, they'd file false charges against her for child abuse.

Well Rabbi Hager, as I said before, I wouldn't wish this type of stuff on anyone, but if you were in the same situation, I can guarantee that you'd say something. And if you wouldn't say anything, and just let your child be masturbated by a stranger, well then, you don't deserve to have children, let alone the title of "Rabbi".

God bless Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg, a strong advocate in Williamsburg, Brooklyn who was shunned by his community, yet still stands for what is right. He has lectures, available by phone, telling victims to call 9-1-1 with these sorts of issues, and accuse the Rabbis of silencing these cases. Because of him standing up for what is right; he was thrown out of his shul (synagogue), and had a full group of Rabbis (32 in total) and a Beis Din (Jewish Court of Law) sign an order against him, ostracizing him.

On the same side, we have Rabbi Tzvi Gluck, a worker at Our Place, in Brooklyn NY, who helps victims of such incidents get proper court attention. He said, and I agree with him fully: "If a guy in our community gets diagnosed with cancer, the whole community will come running to help them. But if someone comes out and says they were a victim of abuse, as a whole, the community looks at them and says, ‘Go jump in a lake.’ ”

It's time we all took a stand. As the United States Homeland Security uses as their slogan: "If you see something, say something". Sexual abuse in the Jewish community must end.

These people should no longer be allowed to stand, hiding, behind their Rabbis. They should all be in jail, getting anally raped by a large man named Bubba, and when they complain, will be told "Bubba wouldn't do such a thing. He's a nice guy."


  1. The NY Times article was disturbing, sad, embarrassing, and worst of all....true...

    1. It was true, which is why I felt the need to write this post.

      I am angry that the article in the Times had to be written, because these people need to get put to justice.

  2. I haven't read the NY Times article yet but it's always sad when we get negative spotlight like this.

    I agree that it's not right for frum people to be let off the hook just because they are people of stature within the community. I also recognize that sexual abuse is taboo, so if we make these offenses public we'll need to have discussions with our children and answer questions that are uncomfortable. This won't be simple, but it's doable.

    However, a problem I see with exposing offenders is that it's an accusation that is and can be easily abused (for lack of a better word, ugh). How many of our youngsters have bones to pick with their rebbeim? Very many, over things that may or may not be valid claims. I am just worried that this will become the newest, easiest way of slandering our rabbonim. It is very difficult practically and emotionally to dispute that someone was abused, so we might be inclined to just take his side... and if claims of abuse are just accepted and prosecuted point blank, we might have a new problem on our hands: want to get back at Rebbi? You know the magic words! So while I agree that our community needs to take action, just realize that it's not as simple as it seems nor are our rabbonim as stupid as people like to believe.

    I read an article in Newsweek many months ago about why there are so few male teachers in the public school system, and they quoted a male elementary school teacher who said it is so difficult to be male and a caring teacher and not be accused of being gay. A student's going through a hard time and his first instinct is to give him a hug- red flag!!! A student wets his pants and the teacher kindly tells him it's ok and wants to help him change- but nope he can't, it's a red flag. Once we have the problem of abuse, everything that a well-meaning teacher does or says is viewed suspiciously. For a female teacher to do these exact normal things, it would not be half has unacceptable. It's as if the male teacher needs to think twice before he does anything to be sure it won't be misconstrued, and it's not fair for a person to have to constantly doubt his rights and instincts in his own profession. I thought he had a really good point there- at some point the accusations have got to stop, not every affection between teacher and student is sexually driven! It's a fine line we need to walk between recognizing when a situation gets out of hand and having a zero tolerance attitude.

    WM, your last paragraph is sheer genius, really drives the point home.

    1. "if we make these offenses public we'll need to have discussions with out children and answer questions that are uncomfortable"......

      Um, that's called "Life". Not everything can be rosy and perfect, and some things need to be talked about. No Jewish kid truly gets "The Talk", but they still find out about all that stuff, probably in worse gotta talk about some things, regardless how hard they are.

      And look at all the cases now coming out about coaches that abused their players (Sandusky, Boeheim)...same situation as the Rabbeim have. If you don't do something wrong, then you have nothing to fear.

      Yes, it's the typical case:
      Man in office puts a hand on the shoulder of a female co-worker = sexual abuse.
      Woman puts hand on the shoulder of a male co-worker = just trying to get his attention.
      It makes no sense, but you adapt, and learn how to behave under the rules you are given.

      As for the last paragraph, thanks, I if only I had a way to get this piece out there so more people would read it. This is the first thing I think I've written that I felt really needs to be read.


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