Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A survivor of incest asks, "Is calling the police the best solution?"

December 8, 2011
Dear Rabbi Eidensohn Shlita,

Firstly, I want to express my gratitude to you for having the courage to deal with this most sensitive, greatly disturbing topic of molestation and incest.

As a survivor of incest, I regularly read your blog, and have found through it much chizuk and help in coming to terms with my ordeals.  It is especially helpful for me to read about what others have to say regarding different aspects of this topic, which also pertain to me. Thus, there are two points I would love to see you address, and receive feedback from other readers.

I come from a very prominent family, highly ranked regarding shidduchim. And indeed, I and my siblings all did very beautiful shidduchim. (I actually remember when I got married a relative of my husband commented to my father that after he got to know me he concluded that my father must be an expert in “Chinuch Habonos” to have raised such an outstanding daughter.)  And yet my father molested me for many years, to the point that Rav Eliyashuv Shlita ruled years after my marriage, when my story was revealed to him, that we needed to redo our Ketubah, since I wasn’t a בתילה when I got married, as my original ketubah stated.

Now these are the two points that I would love to see you address in your blog, and hear what others have to say about them.

Firstly, there has been much talk lately about reporting abuse to the authorities. I understand the need to do so in order to protect other children, and in cases of molestation, to help victims find their voice and feel like justice has been done. However, what happens when the perpetrator is your father, and going to the police will expose your own family, and ruin their good name? I know it might sound trivial to worry about your family’s “name” at a time when it’s all just a façade’ and in truth the family is extremely dysfunctional, however the fact remains that having a good name in our communities does mean a lot. In addition, how is the victim expected to handle these intense emotions of knowing that it is because of them that their father is in jail? After all, “blood isn’t water,” and the victim will be forced to live with having incarcerated their own, and their siblings’ father, and the husband of their mother, etc.

I often ponder, “As a child going through the abuse, knowing what I know now as an adult that has been through close to 20 years of intense healing, what would I have wanted other adults to have done to help me back then? And I cannot say that reporting it to the authorities is the answer. I would have wished for someone, perhaps an aunt or other family member or family friend, to step in and remove me from my family, without exposing to the world what was really happening, (like by forcing my parents to send me to seminary, or by sending me to live with a grandparent with the excuse that the grandparents need a grandchild with them, etc.) In addition, I wish they would have sent me for therapy right then as a teenager.

Had the authorities been called into the picture, and my family would have been exposed, I fear I would have never been comfortable in the community again. Certainly I wouldn’t have been able to do the shidduch I did, or hold the prestigious job I hold It is sad, but it is just the fact, that our community would surely consider someone like myself as damaged goods, had they been told the truth. So I keep asking myself, is it really right for us to take a stand that calling in the authorities in such situations is the only correct thing to do? After all, isn’t it the victim’s life that we are here to improve, and does calling in the authorities, especially in cases of incest really help the victim in the long run?
(In her memoir “The Source of All Things,” Tracy Ross tells her story of being abused by her step-father, and how the police were called in. It seems pretty clear to me that calling the police might of stopped the abuse, yet is triggered a whole new range of problems. And this is someone growing up in the secular world,קל וחומר a victim growing up in our “heimishe” communities.)

My second question is about the incest-victim maintaining contact with their family many years down the line.I chose to politely but firmly severe ties with my family.  I never explained why I didn’t show up for family functions or why I moved out of town and hardly called home.  I just did it. It’s been many years now that I hardly have contact with my family, and I really don’t miss it at all. I find that being away from them allows me to thrive, and I have strong loving relationships with my husband’s family, (though they know nothing about the abuse,) that fills in for the need of family for me. (and I do have Daas Torah backing me on my position.) 

I feel like having connections with my family, (including my siblings,) undermines my very existence. My father, (although he has admitted to the abuse to me,) still maintains the image of being an upstanding Erliche Yid, respected by all as being really chashuv, and my mother and siblings continue to go along with this image. Thus, when I meet with them, I feel like I’m sort of buying into this image too, which by definition denies my truth, my very existence. And yet I need to admit that deep down I would like this fake image to remain intact, since I too benefit from it as I move through life in the “heimishe” communities. So I guess I can’t really blame my siblings for the role they play in maintaining the family image, yet I stay away because of the damage it does to my soul when I force myself to interact with the family as if all was just fine and dandy.

I would love to hear from others, especially other survivors, how they deal with family issues, and what works for them.

Thanks so much for giving me the space to air my thoughts and feelings.Wishing you much Hatzlacha in all that you do.

43 comments :

  1. What kind of 'prestigious job' does one get without a college education (at the least)?

    And what is it with chareidim often lasering in on words like 'kingly', 'royal', 'majestic', 'sumptuous', 'prestigious'? Just open up any heimish paper and study the ads and you'll see what I mean.

    Perosnally, i believe it reflects an underlying shallowness.

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  2. What do you think the response to this letter is, RDE? Afterall, it was addressed to you.

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  3. other than telling you that you needed to redo your kesuba did R Elayashav contribute anything else constructive to the situation? Did he intervene in any way?

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  4. This is a very tragic story but I am glad it has a happy ending.

    There is a terminology which I cannot use in this forum, but it perhaps captures succinctly the attitude of the Rabbonim, towards morality, Torah , and righteousness.

    Let us suppose a man walks bareheaded down a high street, he has done nothing wrong whatsoever, but he would lose any prestige in the "heimishe" world.

    The Torah has very strict punishment for the heinous crime of incest, it is probably the most severe crime of all.
    Yet it seems to be practiced not infrequently in the haredi and orthodox worlds -despite their ceremonies of smashing Tvs.

    I certainly have great sympathy for the writer of the letter. But obviously R'Elyashiv is only concerned with the wording on the ketubah and nothing
    else.

    The word i cannot use here, has the initials B.S,

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  5. Thank you for raising the important topic of what comes after abuse is revealed.

    It is true that neither of the possibilities are particularly fair or particularly helpful for the victim.

    In my case, (groping by father), I was completely rejected by father and mother when I revealed it (when I was well into the thirties), and the family would cut me off if I insisted talking about it, in addition to calling me crazy, a lyer, etc. As far as I hear and read on survivor's sites, this is a quite common occurence: the victim who speaks out is often ostracised by the own family and anyone who does not want to believe that the abuser is an abuser.

    So I think that you handled the situation wisely.
    I do not think that you are responsible for more abuse occurring in the family when the abuser is not exposed (this is a question I pondered for some time, but I came to the conclusion that I would not be responsible if my father or brother molested my niece - I gave her mother the necessary information, I cannot do more than that).

    However, you might find out, when talking to your sisters, that you are not the only one who was molested. And it might help your sisters to know that they are not the only ones...

    As a matter of principle, I still think going to the police is the right thing to do, in spite of all the drawbacks you enumerated.

    From a religious point of view: What kind of religious community is it that honors someone who molests his daughter? What are really the values of this community? Do they have anything to do with Torah?

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  6. As opposed to Rav Elyashiv, I do not think that the ketuba is the main problem here. But the example of the ketuba shows you that hiding abuse also has ramifications... that go against halacha.

    So why do so many halacha-abiding people think that hiding is the best solution within the framework of hareidi judaism?

    Is is however true that the victim cannot win:
    - If she reveals it, she is damaged goods (her family might be, too, but first and foremost she herself)

    - if she hides it and needs psychological counciling, she is damaged goods too, she is the meshugene of the family.

    So really, a victim of abuse is always on the loosing side, as long as society does not change and emphatically take the side of the victim.

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  7. Dovy: "What kind of 'prestigious job' does one get without a college education (at the least)?

    And what is it with chareidim often lasering in on words like 'kingly', 'royal', 'majestic', 'sumptuous', 'prestigious'? Just open up any heimish paper and study the ads and you'll see what I mean.

    Perosnally, i believe it reflects an underlying shallowness."

    Dovy, as someone who seems to be against the chareidi way of life, I'm not sure what you are doing reading the blog of a chareidi rabbi. I am curious though, as to where you get the idea that the author of this letter does not have a college education. Nowhere in her letter does she state whether she went to college or what kind of job she holds (other than prestigious).

    While Rabbi Eidonsohn is clearly open to all communication from his readers, I feel like you are not here to discuss the issue at hand. If you have something to say on the topic, by all means, say it. But what does the use of the word "prestigious" or the level of education obtained by the writer have to do with her question?

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  8. other than telling you that you needed to redo your kesuba did R Elayashav contribute anything else constructive to the situation? Did he intervene in any way?

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  9. In Shmuel Beis, perek 13 Amnon rapes his half-sister Tamar. We learn the following in Sanhedrin 21a:

    "Tamar put ashes on her head and rent her garment of many colors. It was taught in the name of R. Joshua b. Korha. In that hour Tamar set up a great fence [about chastity]. They said: if this could happen to kings' daughters, how much more to the daughters of ordinary men; if this could happen to the chaste, how much more to the wanton? Rab Judah said in Rab's name: On that occasion, they made a decree against yihud with [a married] or unmarried woman..."

    So for the benefit of the community, Tamar was moser nefesh. She sacrificed her own privacy. We see this today, as some survivors step forward, calling out for greater protections. But some don't. Its a matter of choice.

    I have to agree that each situation needs to be evaluated on its own facts. I've met survivors who speak out, which includes going to the authorities, and those who don't, and some in between. Possibly, the heimishe community may sense that your cut off of your family indicates something wrong with them, not you, and that may, itself, serve as a warning to others.

    We do have mandated reporting laws, but we don't have mandated prosecution laws. Some survivors do not want to be re-traumatized by meeting with prosecutors, testifying, etc. Again, that's their choice.

    I am sympathetic to those survivors who only want to step forward partially, or not even at all. Again, its a very personal, human choice. Much of the fault of their predicament is the dysfunction of our community, as noted by Sforno on seemingly superfluous term "ir", in the Torah passages about the rape of Dina by Shchem. It was the "ir" that made it socially acceptable for a man to seize a woman - otherwise, it would not have occurred. I think we all sense this intuitively.

    So now our dysfunctional community, with the tide turning, is demanding of the survivors, step forward, tell us your name, prosecute, testify, and its all for the benefit of child protection, and the safety of the community.

    I think the vulnerable survivor, having survived a lot of hell, has the human,personal right to say, no. Of course, I give great credit to all those who are moser nefesh like Tamar - it is a matter of personal choice, the facts, circumstances, etc.

    All the best to the writer of this thoughtful, sensitive post!

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  10. Thank you for your heartrending letter which is very helpful understanding the victim's point of view. It has helped me tie together a number of loose ends dealing with abuse

    I have much to say because you are presenting a cogent argument for covering up abuse. Or rather you are proposing that there are clear circumstances where the best outcome results from coverup.

    I would assume you are not saying that coverup is always the best solution. Thus you are calling for a more nuanced approach or perhaps it more accurate to say you are advocating sometimes living a lie for some greater good.

    But before I post my response there are a number of issues that I would appreciate that you clarify.

    1) Did your father abuse anyone else?

    2) If there was a possibility that he might harm someone else - a sibling or a student - would you still advocate a coverup to protect the family name?

    3) What was Rav Eliashiv consulted for and why? Was it only the kesuba?

    4) was there any possibility of saving your connection to your family?

    5) When did you tell your husband that you were abused? Was it before or after you were married?

    6)Does your father regret what he did to you?

    7) do your children find your rejection of your family problematic?

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  11. Dear Rabbi Eidensohn,

    I think that your questions 1-2, 4, 5, 6, 7 are not at all relevant:

    ad 1-2
    It is not a victim's responsibility if the abuser abuses other people. It is the abuser's responsibility. If the most comfortable way out for a victim implies that other victims will be abused, it IS NOT HER PROBLEM.

    The problem of further abuse occuring might be a problem of society, other victims, etc. but the victim has first and foremost to care for herself, everything else is secondary.

    ad 4)
    How would she know? As I wrote, in many cases revealing abuse damages the connection to the family more than politely severing the ties.

    ad 5)
    Obviously, if the writer states that the "prominent shidduch" would not have been possible if the abuse was revealed, it was after the marriage.

    ad 6)
    It is impossible to find out if an abuser regrets (can you read another person's thoughts?). Furthermore, regret is not relevant for relapse (relapse occurs in spite of regret, the two are not linked).
    In the case of this father, he might have guessed that the best chances of getting away without being exposed was to display regret.

    ad 7
    If the writer CANNOT keep contact with the family, the question of how it impacts the children must not be asked. It is as if the family was non existent (see shoah), there is no choice.
    Furthermore, you could assume that revealing the abuse now would have more negative impact on the children than keeping them away from the family. Furthermore, the family might not be consiered safe for the children...

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  12. This is a brilliant letter and it's about time somebody up and said the truth: the liberal establishment has victimized the victims. Over the top.

    I do not care if the liberals want to pull out their handkerchiefs and weep about other potential victims or other blowback from the victim's silence.

    Anyone who has been abused has the right to maintain silence, even if, as this writer explains in such stunning prose, it allows them to maintain the veneer alone.

    I am insulted at the idea that the liberals here have of squeezing this poor victim like a lemon for all the 'good' they can get out of her. It's a little like approving torture.

    Get off the victim's back now. Solve your problems by working to make life better for more people so they don't abuse in the first place!

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  13. anti liberal, you make an assertion that people's lives need to be made better so they don't abuse in the first place. Abuse is not about someone's life being bad causing them to abuse. People with perfectly fine lives can abuse too.

    I am NOT saying that this means everyone should run and report without a victim's wishes being taken into account, as I know from personal experience that there is more to the situation than that. What I am saying is that telling lierals that they need to stop telling victims to report is not the answer either.

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  14. DT asked the following December 11, 2011

    1)Did your father abuse anyone else?

    2) If there was a possibility that he might harm someone else - a sibling or a student - would you still advocate a cover-up to protect the family name?

    3) What was Rav Eliashiv consulted for and why? Was it only the kesuba?

    4) was there any possibility of saving your connection to your family?

    5) When did you tell your husband that you were abused? Was it before or after you were married?

    6)Does your father regret what he did to you?

    7) do your children find your rejection of your family problematic?

    =====================

    Rabbi Eidensohn, I’m in a bit of a predicament in regards to answering your questions. If I do answer them clearly, I’m afraid people will figure out who I am.

    So let me just say that I strongly feel that one has no right to remain silent if one is aware that someone is getting hurt, simply because of לא תעמד על דם רעיך. If I were aware that my father is hurting another child, and the only way that I can stop that from happening is by going to the police, then yes, I would go to the police. (I’m just not convinced that going to the police is the only way to stop the abuse, and that going to the police always does stop the abuse.)

    As far as my own situation is concerned, I did address this part of the problem with Professionals, and with Daas Torah, (who actually felt I needed to consult with professionals regarding this matter.) The consensus all around was that going to the police at this stage of the game would not minimize the chances of other children getting hurt.

    On my healing journey I did find a Gadol to confide in who actually was very sympathetic and helpful. When I raised the question about my Ketubah, he felt that this was a question for Rav Eliyashiv Shlita. So he went to Rav Eliyashiv to ask the question for me.

    I did not remember the abuse before I got married. I actually believe that the percentage of children that were abused by close family members and they just don’t remember or realize it, is quite high, especially in circles where children only learn about sex right before they get married. From the day I remembered the abuse I’ve always shared everything with my husband, and thankfully he’s been extremely supportive.

    My father does claim he regrets his actions deeply, and he has done stuff to try to proof that to me. Though I do feel that doing Teshuvah for molesting children is no easy matter. Since molestation affects the soul so so deeply, I believe the perpetrators Teshuvah must really be very very deep in order for it to be considered complete.

    Since we live out of town my children don’t seem to notice my estrangement from my family, and I don’t believe it affects them negatively in any way.

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  15. I used to think that incest in the Orthodox communities is prevalent in the chassidic communities, mostly Satmar. It looks that it also common in the yeshivish community.

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  16. "The consensus all around was that going to the police at this stage of the game would not minimize the chances of other children getting hurt"

    Sounds like Agudah cover up tactics of sweeping everything under the carpet which they think they can get away with by denying a molester is still a threat to others.

    Or maybe they were arguing something even more absurd here. If the perp is not arrested and removed from society, police interrogation certainly helps as a deterrant.

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  17. Really, the Letter writer is a brave person who has endured a terrible suffering and breach of basic trust.

    Victims should not be judged for how they react or choose to defend themselves and/or their families.

    The repression (forgetting) of the trauma that is mentioned in her post is something which is part of psychoanalysis. I am sure R' Eidensohn will know more about this mechanism, and perhaps he can try to explain it...

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  18. It's not just Litvaks who ask complicated shaylos to Rav Elyashev. Why can't this be a chassidishe family?

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  19. "about this mechanism, and perhaps he can try to explain it..."

    The baalei musser answer the velt's kashya on Rashi, that how could the shvotim not have recognized Yosef just altz his beard & a little maturing when he is their brother? Because they did not want to believe something bad happened so even their flesh & blood they were not able to recognize.

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  20. Fact checker and Litvak: one fact about abuse is that there are no boundaries. Chassidim get abused. Litvaks get abused. Yekkes get abused. Heimeshe people get abused. Yeshivishe people get abused. Isrealis get abused. Americans get abused. Europeans get abused. It happens in every city, in every country. In every religion, and every sector of every religion.

    God gave us laws for a reason--in His infinate wisdom, He knows there is NO ONE who is immune to problems, and He created laws to cover every situation.

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  21. @ Fact Checker, thank you for that vort. Some people say that Freud was Talmid Hachamim. His wife was the grand daughter of Hacham Bernays - the teacher of R S.R. Hirsh z.t.l

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  22. I am also a survivor of incest and my father was reported to the authorities by his psychiatrist. (See my short article http://jewsagainstmolestation.blogspot.com/2011/07/chessed-in-reporting-child-sexual-abuse.html)

    I read your letter, my fellow survivor, and I have a hard time with the fact that you would want your thoughts published. Until now, you were not ready to report your abuser. And so instead of looking toward the day when you will be strong enough to do so, you are experiencing cognitive dissonance and want to excuse yourself, and justify the lack of reporting in your case. You are excused, as no one can stand in your shoes. However, that this abuser goes unnamed by those who now know, is unacceptable. Whether or not You report to the police, is your choice. But to NOT tell everyone within the perps vacinity and power to watch him, is risking the lives of children.

    When will the ignorance stop? When will the cover up stop? How many children have to be hurt? This denial is so heartbreaking. And now a Survivor speaks out on behalf of Silence.

    I'd rather be a Survivor, standing up for what is right and good, promoting the protection of children, giving voice to the pain and injustices, than to choose Yichus based on a Cover UP, while the Grandpa/Rabbi possibly molests his grandchildren, neices, nephews, neighbors.

    What was the purpose of publishing this, DT? Shall we discount the majority of survivors who feel sad and sorry that they couldn't protect other children. They will tell you how duped they were into believing that they were the only one. How many of this survivor's siblings also disassociated the abuse and just don't remember? Meanwhile, the molester goes unnamed and unreported. And the cycle of abuse continues.

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  23. As a therapist, I find that by far the largest percent of sex abuse cases come from the MO community.

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  24. Letter writer: I have a feeling Rav Eidensohn didn't intend for you to answer his questions publicly on this blog. If I were you I would ask for your comment (with the answers to his questions) be removed so you can answer him personally. Just my two cents -- thanks for sharing your letter, and I hope things continue to go well for you.

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  25. Recipients and PublicityDecember 12, 2011 at 7:54 AM

    Human problems cannot be and are not "solved" in one sweeping act or "magically" with one "decree" or "pressing of a button" but rather in real life solutions come about as part of a process. This post and the one who wrote should be seen as part of the process that's reaching for a solution to a serious human weakness of which there are many.

    Just as one of the best ways to deal with and "solve" crime is by making people aware of the problems and educating the public to speak out and feel safe enough to call a hotline or a crime-stoppers line, likewise with the issues of incest or any form of sexual, physical or emotional abuse in the Jewish and general community it will take time because it's a process.

    To focus on what should be done with the father who was incestuous is only part of the issue. It seems the letter-writer would be well-advised to continue with a reliable therapist and deal with her own issues of survivor guilt and many difficult memories. This in itself will take a long time in therapy because the issues seem to be very deep. No amount of public discussions on this blog or anywhere else will be a substitute for good therapy for the victim.

    Watching this post and the discussion unfold, one needs to be aware that the post itself, and the fact that the letter-writer had the bravery to write to Dr. Eidensohn, and assuming it is genuine and accurate, the main thing to realize is that this is a "milestone" as well as a small "victory" along the road of honesty and "tikkun" of this problem.

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  26. This is a letter from someone who is genuinely grappling with the realities of life that are always so much more complicated than rules and party lines. It is a letter from someone who (by her account) has spent the last twenty years healing from her sexual abuse. And now, at this point, she is grateful for her life and the opportunities it affords (her husband and job and who knows what else), and is realizing that these things that make her so happy now, and that these joys of her life would not have been available to her had the abuse been exposed and reported. No one has addressed the complicated truth that she is raising.
    As a believer in mandatory reporting I don’t know what to say either. All I can proffer is that there is no way to measure the road not taken. And (I am speaking to the questioner now) you can only trust that had someone known and done the “right thing” by reporting your father to the authorities, and you and your family would have been caught up in the whirlwind of shame and legal proceedings, that you would have come out of that, twenty years later, grateful for the life you would have had (whatever it would have looked like, and however different it would have been from the life you have now). I do believe that is true, both for you and your whole family.

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  27. @ Therapist

    Yes, MO are not immune, and there are no reliable statistics. However, the entire Haredi welt has a handful of psychologists, whereas the MO has hundreds, of not thousands.

    And remember, there is no clear line between MO and UO, they follow the same Shulchan Aruch.

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  28. Dear JAM

    I think it is important to make a plurality of opinions heard.

    And it is important to state that what the letter writer wanted for herself is exactely what did not work for other victims of abuse (see Weingarten case).

    to me, the main problem with "not rocking the boat" is for the victim self.
    As long as the abuser is not exposed and brought to justice, the abuser-introjects within the victim (the parts justifying the abuse and denying the child's rights) will remain strong, and this might impede healing, especially when the victim stays near the perpetrator, or in some way dependent on him or weaker than him.

    However, I agree that exposing and all the rejection that goes with it (against the victim) is not easy to handle. It is particularly frutrating when the status of limitations is over, when the trial is lost for lack of proof (which happens quite often), or when simply no-one wants to believe the victim.

    I, personally, do not know whether trying to expose the perp was a good or a bad step towards healing. In any case, it cut me off from my family without my choosing to do so.

    Therefore, I see that it can be preferable not to expose and to remain master of your actions (you cut off because YOU want to), rather than being victimised again by an environment that staunchly supports the perp.

    all those problems (denial by immediate environment of the perp, rejection by family in case of inner-family abuse) are not specifically jewish or hareidi. They occur everywhere and are inherent in the problem of abuse.

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  29. @Eddie - the fact that some anonymous person claims to be a therapist does not mean that they are a therapist.

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  30. Well put, Rose. Your attempt to expose your perp was a heroic act. I'm sorry that your family failed you. This betrayal is almost more difficult to understand than the sexual perversion.

    Anyway, I just want to agree with you that the ramifications of reporting are certainly not easy on the victim. I think that is the main message we are all in agreement on, and that needs to be stressed. With that in mind, if we ever get past the issue of reporting, perhaps we can start advocating for the needs of victims for emotional and financial support. With articles like this one, it will be awhile before the charedi world gets there. Meanwhile, I think I'll go check what's going on in the world of Sports...for a little glimps of sanity.

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  31. I want to apologize for my tangential comment in comment #1. While it is indeed a question I have, it was not appro to bring it up when far weightier questions are being asked and/or addressed.

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  32. @ Bob, I also had the same reservations. The problem, however, is that there have been a spate of abuse cases in Modern or RZ world, (altho the notorious ones are more gay abuse ).

    So we have a paradox arising: why is abuse in general (and incest is a specific area) more prevalent in communities who are observant of halacha? I do not claim to have an answer or a solution, but it is important to recognize the phenomenon. It may be argued that "well, it happens in the secular world even more", however the recent post about abuse in Bnei Brak, and how it is a "pedophile's paradise" suggest otherwise.

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  33. @JAM: Thank you for your support.
    I appreciate that a lot.

    @eddie
    "why is abuse in general (and incest is a specific area) more prevalent in communities who are observant of halacha?"

    There is no objective evidence supporting this statement.

    While the hareidi world is not exempt from abuse, as they liked to believe about themselves, nothing leads to believe that abuse is more prevalent in hareidi communities than anywhere else.

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  34. >While the hareidi world is not exempt from abuse, as they liked to believe about themselves, nothing leads to believe that abuse is more prevalent in hareidi communities than anywhere else.<

    IIRC, an in-the-know mental health worker based in Bnei Brak stated the exact opposite.

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  35. We dont know the prevalency of child sexual abuse in the charedi world becausese the charedim won't allow a study/survey, and the study that was conducted years ago was discounted because it didn't have a random selection. It showed, however, that at that time and regarding only women, the numbers were very similar to the secular world, one in four.


    Personal experience speaks volumes though. In my building of 14 families, 50% of the boys had been exposed to a pedophile at various stages of the grooming process and some had been actually molested, and a few boys had more than one perp molest them.

    Let me ask you this: Do you think the Catholic Church has a pedophile problem more than society in general? If you can admit to this, and how can you not, then perhaps you can at least entertain the thought that in some cultures/communities certain problems are more prevalent than in other areas. I mean, isn't that the case with low-income families, that they have more social problems (sociology 101)? So lets just consider that, if our charedi society had a problem, lets say, with a distribution of power (often called Daas Torah), and those in power had a misunderstanding (based in ignorance) of this issue of pedophilia, and as a result, for many years they did nothing to stop pedophiles, and then those pedophiles enjoyed and further perpetuated a haven for child molestation, then might there possibly be a chance that we've got a bit more of a problem then the mainstream secular society where people call the police, teach personal safety to children and the public, and have training and other requirements for personnel who work with kids?

    Experts are now saying that the sports world, due to its dynamics, has been a possible haven for pedophiles, and that the only solution is to first recognize this as true, and then take all precautions and necessary actions to change these dynamics, with one of the main issues being to report suspicious persons to proper authorities.

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  36. No, I do not think that the catholic church has more of a pedophile problem than schools or boyscouts or youth orchestras or sport clubs or psychologists.

    the problem is that media attention has nothing to do with statistics. When they catch a priest or a teacher or a rabbi or a trainer, it is all over the media, and people think "ah, those ugly priests, rabbis, trainers, condutcors, teachers, etc". But media do not make a quantitative assessment.

    I think this problem exists everywhere, no part of society is exempted, and we have to be vigilant everywhere, especially where we expect it least.

    So I think there is no point in saying it is more prevalent in rural population or in whatever: the number of undisclosed cases is so high, that no reliable statistics could be made anyhow.

    The problem of denial is not specific to the jewish community either. It arises exactely in the same manner in small villages, for example where the teacher molests, or within the family, or within sports clubs, as we just saw.

    There is no easy solution to sexual molestation. It is important to raise awareness, but raising awareness will not make the problems disappear all of a sudden.
    And there are quite a lot of problems that come after raising awareness. Because with raising awareness, you have not dealt with the anger of the survivors, with their distrust, with all the crippling the abuse causes in the person.

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  37. Both in the U.S. and in Israel, far fewer Orthodox Jews are in prison for sexual abuse as a percent of the convicted sexual abusing inmates than their percent of the population at large.

    Clearly the problem is far far larger in the secular world.

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  38. @Pat:
    this is a wrong conclusion too.

    - cover-up is stronger in hareidi society
    - You might not be able to identify all the hareidi perpetrators as such...

    Just let's agree: We don't know, and there is no reason to assume that it is more or less prevalent...

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  39. I would say that the whole mikvah-system has probably done much to help pedophiles in Chareidei communities. Nothing like that exists outside of it (except for perhaps showers after sports activities to some extent).

    Little Sheep: I read your admonishment after I posted my apology. Nu, so who died and made you boss here?

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  40. The Catholic Church priest sex scandal IS very much different, worse, and incomparable to anyone else -- even other Christian churches like the Protestents -- since the Catholic Church requires their priests to be celibate, something almost inhumane which unsurprisingly results in sexual abuse and sexual cheating.

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  41. I am in complete accordance with "Pat" above.
    In my practice I deal extensively with secular and Orthodox patients. I can relate that while the Orthodox do indeed have a sexual abuse problem, comparitavely it is very notably less extensive than their secular counterparts. And even within the Orthodox community, I can relate that the hareidi sector has a significantly less pronounced sexual abuse problem than their MO counterparts. I can state this despite personally being modern orthodox. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that all sectors suffer from this illness.

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  42. Dovy, I'm not sure I understand your comment about me "being boss here" as I don't think I said anything that would indicate I am trying to be. Everything I said can be verified by professionals, if you do the research.

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  43. @ Therapist,

    Your observations claim that the problem is more prominent in secualr, and least in HAreidi, with MO somewhere inbetween.

    However, your methodology may well be flawed, since the more open these groups may be, the more willing they will be to come forward to the authorities or to therapy.

    Examples:

    Have you ever heard of a secular lawmaker attacking victims for going to the authorities for such a crime? Well, such lawmaker would not last long in his position. On the other hand, that has been the standard hareidi retort of intimidating victims of abuse. And this is not limited to Hareidim, hence when such crimes were committed in MO yeshivot, some prominent MO rabbis refused to cooperate with the authorities. Takana was set up in reaction to these crises.

    So I am skeptical of your scientific training and your presentation of the evidence.

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