In the current edition of Mishpacha (Sept 26, 2011 page 17) is a noteworthy exchange between Mrs. Bella Tzibushkin and Rabbi Aryeh Ginzberg regarding an article he had published in a previous edition bemoaning the negative impact the knowledge of scandals had on the kedusha of the home.
Mrs Tzibushkin writes a very cogent letter strongly criticizing Rav Ginzberg for being more concerned for covering up scandals than dealing with them for blaming the messenger rather than dealing with the message. He replies that she had missed his point. He replies among other things:
When scandals lo aleinu do strike, they are addressed. The Novominsker Rebbe shlita told me that when the terribly painful abuse claims arose, the most difficult thing that the Moetzes Gedolei Torah had to deal with was how to address these horrific crimes in public and yet preserve the kedushah in our homes and in our lives. As difficult as that was, the claim that Mrs. Tsibushkin makes - that the scandals are ignored - is just not in line with the facts on the ground.Given what we know about the history of the gedolim dealing with abuse - this simply boggles the mind.
For example 2009 in an editorial in the Yated (reprinted in my book on abuse) Rabbi Pinchus Lipshutz acknowledged the ignorance of the gedolim about how to deal with abuse cases and that they were typically ignored in the past:
Let us be clear: For too long, we weren’t tuned in to these innocent victims’ stories and their pain. For too long, we weren’t sufficiently aware that this problem existed and thus were able to ignore the quiet pleas, the sad eyes, the pained lives, and the personalities withdrawn. We didn’t recognize the warning signs and thus largely ignored the phenomenon. Equally clear, this inattention was not a function of some high level conspiracy to harm people or cover up for criminals or abet nefarious activities. It was simply a function of a lack of education about a complex and highly sophisticated problem. It was a result of our leadership simply being unaware of the depths that such sordid people could sink to, and the extreme skill perpetrators exhibit in covering their tracks. And yes, it was undeniably a gezera, which, as so often is the case, claims innocent holy souls - bikroyvai Ekodeish.
I am all too aware that it is fashionable in certain circles to blame this all on our rabbinic leadership. These people have yet to explain why our rabbanim, who devote their lives to serving people, would want to hurt anyone. The days when being a rav or rosh yeshiva meant strictly poskening shailos or teaching Torah are long gone. Rabbanim routinely spend an overwhelming portion of their time dealing with every type of personal problem imaginable. I don’t have to elaborate on this now, but suffice it to say that it defies logic to accuse our most choshuve leaders, who exhibit much mesiras nefesh, of coldhearted indifference. As I said, the problem was a lack of understanding.