When I started seriously researching the issue of abuse several years ago, I was informed that contrary to common belief - child abuse is a problem for the chareidi world just as it for the rest of the world. Unfortunately it is still a common misconception. I still get comments that abuse is rare in the chareidi world and so it is claimed that all this talk about this disgusting topic is just giving the wrong impression that there is a serious problem and it is polluting the purity of the environment
Even among the enlightened ones there is a strong feeling that the seriousness of the problem should be publicly minimized. In fact one of my friends cautioned me - "even though it is true that abuse is the same as the rest of the world but it is a chillul haShem to say such a thing. You can bring about needed change by mentioning there is a problem - why publicize that we are as bad as the goyim in this area."
Last week there was a conference on child abuse in Jerusalem. Dr. Bunzel - a prominent frum psychiatrist from Bnei Brak and one who has a close working relationship with Rav Silman made a number of important observations.
1) the rate of abuse in the Chareidi society is actually higher than in the outside population There are some chareidi abusers who have abused hundreds of kids.
2) Many of the chareidi abusers don't understand the problem with what they are doing. They say, "But I didn't know that this behavior is assur. It is something I don't want others to know that I am doing but the Torah doesn't prohibit it" The problem is that many don't have words for sexual activity and don't really understand what the Torah prohibits. Even when they do, they think that if there is no genital intercourse with the child above 3 for a girl and above 9 for a boy - the physical contact which gets them aroused is not prohibited. They ask ," Where does it say in the Torah that you can't touch or look or take pictures or show pictures or movies to kids. where does it say that oral sex is prohibited? The goyim prohibit these things but that is not what the Torah says and we are only concerned with the Torah!" Perhaps worst of all they have no awareness that what they are doing to the child is destroying the victim.
3) Bnei Brak is a paradise for perverts because it has a naive population of children who don't understand that the unpleasant acts that someone is doing to them is sexual abuse and even if they realize it no one is going to call the police - especially not their parents. That is because that would be a violation of the horrible sin of mesira which they views as more serious than the abuse itself. Typically their rabbi will tell them he will take care of the problem - but don't go to the police.
4) Chemical castration is often the only thing that changes the molester and even that is not 100% successful.