Friday, April 23, 2010

Ben Hirsch: Cracks in the wall of silence about abuse

Jewish Star

Last week, the Flatbush Shomrim issued an alert – a warning – to sex offenders that they would be arrested and prosecuted. The alert also instructed people to report sex crimes directly to the police. Judging from the positive blog posts and the flood of appreciative calls to the Shomrim hotline (to which I was in some cases privy) this message is a welcome one in our community. Indeed, the spate of recent arrests and convictions of those who have preyed sexually on young people seem to be a clear indication that, despite long-held communal norms and pressures, people are gaining the courage to do the right thing and report abusers to the authorities. The endorsement of this behavior by a trusted communal organization whose mission often puts it on the front lines dealing with this issue will, I believe, only reinforce this positive trend. However, in the midst of these positive developments, I am still left to wonder: where are the voices of our rabbinic leadership? While the Flatbush Shomrim alert seems to be endorsed by unnamed local rabbi(s), to date, not a single charedi rabbi has publicly expressed support for this position. Why? [...]

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