Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Preventing homosexual contact in schools & camps

An experienced educator raised the following concerns with me. Western society has experienced a radical change in attitude towards homosexuality in recent years. It is no longer viewed as a sign of mental illness or moral depravity but rather a legitimate sexual expression. The stigma and shame of engaging in homosexual activity has decreased drastically. Thus while it is true that such activity has happened in the past in dormitories or camps - either between a teenage boy and younger children or between peers who are exploring their sexuality - the frequency seems to be increasing or at least the awareness has sharply increased. At the same time - the Torah absolutely prohibits such behavior calling it an abomination.

His questions were 1) how to react if two boys are discovered to have willingly engaged in homosexual activity? 2)  Is there any way for the staff of a yeshiva or camp to identify boys who might be prone to such behavior or those who engage in it. 3) at what age does this type of activity stop being the result of  exploration of sexuality and instead indicate relatively stable sexual identity? 4)  When is it best to advise psychotherapy rather than silence? 5) under what circumstances should such boys either be refused admission to yeshiva/camp or be sent home and when should they be allowed to stay under watchful eyes and close supervision. 6) Is it better to provide some type of general educational program to explicitly warn  against such behavior or is it more beneficial to maintain the present approach of not to mentioning such activity so as to not arouse curiousity and attention? 7) Are there any differences between boys and girls in this matter? 8) Is there any proven way to discourage homosexual attractions and develop exclusive heterosexual interest?

10 comments :

  1. Yes, the solution must be to follow the Frum derech, which means:

    ~ separate boys from girls, so G-d forbid they should be attracted to the opposite sex.

    ~ Forbid men from listening to women singing, since this causes arousal - it has no biological cause whatsoever.

    ~ Ban TV, magazines and even posters of beautiful women, since men are not meant to have desire for women.

    ~ Make a habit of having single sex swimming, mikvaot, where boys and men roam naked freely.

    ~ Encourage a sense of guilt for staring a a women's beauty, beauty can even be such things as a litlte finger, and elbow, etc - hence encourage a perversion of healthy sexual and psychological development.

    ~ Finally, make sure that Gemara and Halacha are studied rigorously, and systematically.


    With the above, it can be guaranteed that homosexuality will/not be encouraged in the orthodox world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. There is also a problem with the double standard.
    Imagine a man walks up to a woman and starts touching her without her consent. Well that's assault and, if the touching occurs on certain parts of the body it's sexual assault.
    But if a man walks up to another man and does the same thing, well how dare you criticize him? You're a homophobic racist, you are!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Recipients and PublicityDecember 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    "An experienced educator raised the following concerns with me"

    RaP: If he is truly experienced he should have known how to deal with such situations and offered his views. Is he seeking pure Halachic p'sak? Then he should consult with his Posek or Poskim. If he seeks guidance from a mental health professional, then he should seek it from frum mental health professionals familiar with these fields. If he wishes to discuss it in a practical and hashkafic manner he should seek advice from ehrliche people who have run frum camps and schools and who come across these problems in the past because they are nothing new.

    "His questions were

    1) how to react if two boys are discovered to have willingly engaged in homosexual activity?"

    RaP: Do not react rashly. Go slow and try to understand the situation and how it got to this. Do not shame them publicly. They both need to see a frum therapist ASAP. Do not ignore it!!! It may be part of something far wider, like a corrupt teacher or counselor, that must be shut down. Switch to "detective" mode as soon as this comes to light and don't stop until you have come up with leads and solved the mystery of how this came about!

    "2) Is there any way for the staff of a yeshiva or camp to identify boys who might be prone to such behavior or those who engage in it."

    RaP: There may be, but then one could ask if there are ways to identify boys who may be kleptomaniacs or are just faking that they are frum. One can safely assume, that given that the yetzer hora (libido) can be found in any person, young boys with hormones racing through them are often easily aroused. By the way, what about the issue of masturbation? Most boys do it, but it's not focused on. If you focus on it then it's like giving life to shedim (demons) by validating them. Probably the best "antidote" is a good camp program and reliable staff members. And watch out that the staff members are not problematic as they are often the instigators.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Recipients and PublicityDecember 28, 2011 at 8:16 PM

    "3) at what age does this type of activity stop being the result of exploration of sexuality and instead indicate relatively stable sexual identity?"

    RaP: Is there even an answer to such a question. This is a subject for many a PhD thesis.

    "4) When is it best to advise psychotherapy rather than silence?"

    RaP: It is never too "early" to get good frum psychotherapist involved. The word "silence" is dangerous and denotes a non-approach. Are you going to be silent if you catch two boys in a frum camp in bed having intercourse?

    "5) under what circumstances should such boys either be refused admission to yeshiva/camp or be sent home and when should they be allowed to stay under watchful eyes and close supervision."

    RaP: Doubtful if there is "one" answer to this. each situation would vary. Consult a posek and frum therapist in each case.

    "6) Is it better to provide some type of general educational program to explicitly warn against such behavior or is it more beneficial to maintain the present approach of not to mentioning such activity so as to not arouse curiousity and attention?"

    RaP: The present prevailing approach is the only one that will win approval. Frum society does not approve of "sex ed" that would include "the dos and don'ts" and would not allow it in any formal or informal way. Teach it through the Torah. Rav Avigdor Miller Z"L would say find sugyas in Shas or episodes in Tanach to teach as preemptive lessons as it were.

    "7) Are there any differences between boys and girls in this matter?"

    RaP: No. But the sin of hotzo'as zera levatala only applies to boys. Girls are called "noshim mesolelos" as lesbians.


    "8) Is there any proven way to discourage homosexual attractions and develop exclusive heterosexual interest?"

    RaP: Probably not because the yetzer hora/libido tries to find various ways to "fulfill" itself. Life is an ongoing battle. Read and learn the Ramchal's Mesilas Yesharim!!!

    ReplyDelete
  5. @ Garnel,

    what exactly is the double standard, and what is the relevance here?

    Usually a man would be more capable of defending himself than a woman. In cases of child abuse, secular courts do not give preference to homosexual abusers. If anything, it is the rabbis who turn a blind eye, since anything to do with women is automatically wrong, and almost anything to do with men, is somehow acceptable, with a nod and wink.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Questions 1-7 should be answered on a case-by-case basis.

    Question 8. I agree with Eddie above, who describes how we arrived at this point. The "frum derech", as he calls it, promoting excessive separation of the genders, has created situational homosexual behavior in our camps, yeshiva dormitories, and mikvas. The Chassidish yeshivas, in particular, prohibit female teachers starting in third grade. All of this needs to change.

    ReplyDelete
  7. @) Rap and DT

    "7) Are there any differences between boys and girls in this matter?"
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Min HaTorah there is no explicit prohibition of female-female relationships.
    It is clearly a male/male relationship that is forbidden in the Torah.
    Chazal included lesbianism as a general feature of forbidden acts of the nations (even the word in English comes from the Greek island of Lesbos)

    Perhaps the Torah has strong rationale, in that the gay act is totally destructive amongst men - no need to explain that in detail.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As an addendum to Elliot Pasik's comment:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_sexual_behavior

    ReplyDelete
  9. Shevet Mussar, Chapter 14, Paragraph 27:

    Quotes the Arizal: He who commits homosexuality will be reincarnated as a rabbit.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Midrash Rabah, Parshat Bereshit, Chapter 26, Paragraph 5 [or 9 in other editions]:

    Rabbi Huna taught in the name of Rabbi Yosef*:

    The Generation of the Flood [Dor HaMabul] was not blotted out of the world until they made official marriage contracts between people of the same gender…

    * Another edition says Rabbi, meaning Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi, active around 180 CE.

    CHRONOLOGY: Rabbi Huna was active around the year 270 of the Common Era.

    מדרש רבה בראשית פרשה כו פסקה ה
    רבי הונא בשם רבי אמר דור המבול לא נימוחו מן העולם עד שכתבו גמומסיות לזכר

    ReplyDelete

ANONYMOUS COMMENTS WILL NOT BE POSTED!
please use either your real name or a pseudonym.