Reply To: Articel on NY Post Web-site on religious Jews child abuse

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Mods, I believe that when they started protecting the Rabbonim they did not have the knowledge they have today. They honestly did not know what kind of damage it was doing to the children. They probably thought that kids are resilient and they will forget about it and get over it. And they should be more concerned about protecting The Rebbeim and the Yiddishe Image. They were concerned about not making a chilul Hashem and about not letting outsiders see that Jews are also human and have the same problems as everyone else.

Now that WE know what kind of damage this has done, the fact that abused children become adult abusers so abuse breeds abuse, it ruins the lives of the victims, the kids go off the derech, they grow up to never have normal relationships in their adult lives or never marry, or they become homosexual, or they turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate and numb the pain, trauma and nightmares, or they overdose or purposely take their own lives…..the situation has spiraled out of control both for the victims and for those who protected the abusers.

What are they supposed to do now after protecting so many, admit that they were wrong and tell people to start turning abusers over to the police? Well what happens if one of those they had protected for so long is turned over to the police? What happens if it comes out that so many Chashuv Rabbonim knew about them for many years? What happens to the reputation of the Yeshiva we spoke about in the other thread when the truth comes out that they harbored a molester for decades? What happens when abusers are turned in and their families come complaining to the Rabbonim that they know they protected so and so, why won’t they help their family member?

IMHO, they should say they were wrong for so long, that they didn’t know what the outcome would be for so many innocent children. What they need to do is hold a conference where they invite victims to come in and speak to them, have a panel of Rabbonim in different rooms and let victims stand up and tell their stories. Let there be many different rooms so that many victims get to speak out and tell their stories and let them name their abusers. Let the Rabbonim listen to their pain, let them see the effects on the once innocent and frum kinderlach. Then they can come together and make a decision. Then they can report back to the olam that after reviewing so many cases from the perspective of the victims, they have come to the conclusion that a molester is a “rodef” and the damage they do is too dangerous to take a chance with, therefore one must turn them over to the police just like any other person that is in the category of “rodef”.

I wonder if you or anyone else has any Idea if any of these Rabbonim have ever invited an abuse victim to come and speak to them and hear their story? Rabbonim do NOT want to speak to victims. They do NOT want to hear their stories. They do not want to dirty their hands, or desensitize their delicate ears with the harshness and filth of the truth these victims carry.

This is the painful truth and this is what hurts the most. This is why the victims of abuse say they have no voice. This is how they were silenced. It is not enough that they were humiliated by the abuse itself, they were shamed into keeping quiet. Do you think it feels good not to trust or look up to Rabbonim or those who are supposed to be our leaders? Do you know what it feels like? It feels like being a Yosom, like you lost your parents and you are alone in the world. That is what it is like to lose your faith and trust in the Gedolim or in what we consider Daas Torah. It feels like you had the rug pulled right out from under your feet. The very same people you would not have considered to make a move without checking with, the very same people you would change your schedule around to have the opportunity to meet and greet, or be privileged to chap a few words of chizuk from, you no longer trust or feel any sense of chizuk from, just hypocrisy. It feels like you were shot in the heart and you are bleeding to death. That is what it feels like to lose your respect and your confidence in the chaburah of Rabbonim you trusted all your life. No it doesn’t feel good, but it is what it is and it is NOT going to change until this issue is resolved.

And by the way, MY Rav said to go to the police.