Monday, January 27, 2014

Shidduchim: Does a victim of incestual rape need to reveal it?

This question has been raised a number of times. Thought it would be helpful to indicate my understanding of how this should be handled.

The description is not of a particular individual - but this is a description of a not uncommonly encountered problem - especially in large families where parents are too busy to properly supervise.

Question: A 19 year old woman had been raped by her teen-age brother for a number of years before she was 12. Her parents were never willing to acknowledge that their son – who is now married and doing well in kollel - had a long term incestuous relationship with their daughter. Therefore even though they did send her to a therapist because of the severe psychological problems that resulted – she feels betrayed not only by her brother but by her parents and other authority figures. However she feels that she has gotten passed her brother's abuse and she says that she understands her parent's failure to acknowledge what was happening and lack of emotional support and forgives them.

She is now involved in shidduchim – and wants to know whether she needs to say anything about the rape?

Answer: 1) If there was penetration she cannot marry a Cohen 2) If the therapist feels that there will be minimal impact on marriage and relationship to her husband and if she will never reveal the information and it won't come from other sources – Rav Triebitz said that she does not have to say anything. Rav Sternbuch, however, indicated that it is unlikely that the information will remain a secret and therefore she should say something before marriage. 3) On the other hand if a competent therapist thinks that her abuse will have an impact on marriage – she should not keep it a secret and she needs to reveal it before marriage. 4) She should not say anything unless it seems that the relationship is becoming serious (as noted below from Igros Moshe). Rav Moshe Feinstein's view is that for serious matters that would probably destroy the shidduch - if there is no direct question, there is no need to volunteer the information before marriage. However the future spouse needs to be informed prior to marriage – even though Rav Moshe Feinstein allows waiting until after engagement. 5) Regarding the kesuba – if she is a baal teshuva then there is no need to inform the chasan that she is not a besulah. However if he assumes that she is a besulah than Rav Sternbuch said she needs to inform him – but does not need to give the reason. If the chasan is aware that she is not a besula it is still permitted to write in the kesuba that she is (see the following Igros Moshe).

שו"ת אגרות משה אורח חיים חלק ד סימן קיח

ובדבר אם צריכה את להגיד להבחור שירצה לישא אותך לאשה, ודאי את צריכה לגלות לו, אבל אינך צריכה להגיד לו בראיה והכרה דפעם ראשונה שעדיין לא ידוע אם ירצה בכלל השידוך וממילא אסור אז להגיד לו, ורק אחרי שתדעי שרוצה לישא אותך בברור שכבר אמר לך ודבר בדבר הנישואין, צריכה את לומר רק בזה שנזדמן איזה פעם בשעה שלא היה לך כובד ראש כל כך לעמוד נגד המפתה בדברי רצוי ופתוי הרבה ותיכף נתחרטת ומצטערת על זה שאירע דבר כזה עד שיכיר מדבריך שאין לו לחוש שיארע גם כשתהא נשואה לו, ואז מאחר שהוא רוצה בך מפני שהכיר המעלות שלך לא יחזור בו בשביל זה שאירע איזה פעם מאחר שיכיר אותך לנערה שומרת תורה ומצותיה שיש להאמין שלא חשודה את שוב בזה ותהי' אשה מסורה לבעלה כדין התורה.

בדבר כתיבת הכתובה אין צורך להגיד למסדר הקידושין, כי מאחר שהחתן יחתום על הכתובה הרי הסכים לכתובת בתולה ושוב ליכא קפידא ומחוייב בכתובת בתולה אף אם באמת אינה בתולה אם לא הטעתה אותו, מאחר דרצה להתחייב בכתובת בתולה לא גרע מתוספת כתובה, וכשניסת להבועל עצמו יותר נכון לכתוב כתובת בתולה ולכתוב בתולתא והטעם מבואר בתשובותי באגרות משה חלק אה"ע סימן ק"א ויפה עשה הרב ההוא, אך גם בבעולה מאחר אם נבעלה מישראל כשר שכשרה לכהונה שאינו נוגע לענין איסור אלא לענין סך הממון אם החתן יודע ורוצה בכתובת בתולה יכולים לכתוב כתובת בתולה, וממילא אין לגלות זה להמסדר קידושין ולא לשום אדם כדכתבתי לעיל.

42 comments :

  1. I am a regular poster here, but post this anonimously. I request rav e to change my screen name if it does come up.

    I think this is a real problem, not only for the abused woman, but for the husband who marries her.

    my ex was abused as a child by a very close family member, whom she is still very close to. I don't know if she knows about it today (or before; she is in denial), but it presented various problems in the marriage, both in intimacy issues (she always had problems with intimacy, and other aspects of the marriage, such as childbirth, extremely close relations with her family, including the abuser, etc.) and in relationship issues (her family, including the abuser, were always more valued than the husband; and the family reinforced the misplaced values.)

    as the marriage fell apart, she refused to go to marriage counseling (cause the abuser laughed off marriage counseling, so she wouldnt go.

    in fact, after the separation (her idea), she refused to go to a bet din; I had get a heter, which she still refuses to pick up a get from, for no stated reasons. rabbonim don't care. they literally run away from the case. literally run away.

    I only found out / realized the abuse when I mistakenly found a court file in court referencing it, in the process of the divorce case itself.

    of course, I cant discuss it with rabbonim, or others, cause not only does it bring me shame, (and they definitely cannot be trusted for confidentiality) etc, but I have a child whom I don't want this to affect (both emotionally, and in the shidduch process).

    in case my regular screen name comes up, please change it an anonymous name.

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    1. How was she abused by the close relative?

      What kind of heter did you get?

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  2. Something about this response feels very uncomfortable to me.

    Here we have this young woman who feels betrayed not only by her brother, but also by her parents and authority figures of the community. Yet we are assuming she has forgiven them, probably because she understands how difficult it was for all of the above to deal with this issue heads on, thus they choose to ignore it, (and let her suffer in silence.)
    And now she is being told she must jeopardize her chances of getting a good Shidduch and disclose the abuse to her prospective Chatan?

    Let's face it; as a community we have made no space for these kinds of problems, and in the majority of cases we have not only done nothing to help, but we actually exasperated the problem by refusing to deal with it. Thus I feel it is wrong to suddenly turn to the girl and expect her to act "upstandingly," while also expecting her to forgive and understand all those who hurt her so badly by denying the issue. Can one really be expected to tolerate such a split in one's psyche?

    Perhaps Halacha also needs to take into consideration that anyone doing a sidduch in the present climate of our society, is risking doing a shidduch with someone who has been molested. This is inevitable in a society that fosters acts of molestation to get swept under the rug, which often time results in the victim being in denial, or having repressed her memories and thus being incapable of even thinking of asking the shielah asked in this post, (as Anonymous above attests to.)
    Thus perhaps considering that anyone doing a shidduch knowingly risks marrying a victim of molestation, might influence the halacha in this case.

    Of course I also understand how marrying someone who has been molested will negatively affect the life of the prospective chatan, however it doesn't seem right that once again the victim is being asked to silently carry the brunt of this issue. Let us at least acknowledge that this is a very complex issue, perhaps one that doesn't yet have a simple solution.

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  3. I will take this a step further. Why limit this to incestuous abuse?
    My daughter was seduced or raped (depends on who you ask and how she is feeling) multiple times by a classmate (female). This created major trauma that is expressed in her sexual relationship with her husband, fertility problems, and issues with childbirth.
    She could not know in advance HOW the incidents would affect her, but she had to know that they would.
    My wife and I only found out about this after she got married. I'm not sure we would have revealed the incidents, but we certainly would have provided here with some serious therapy before allowing her to get married.

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    1. you are correct this answer applies in other cases

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  4. I think that this question and answer go a long way to explain the deficiencies of the shidduch system.

    the shidduch system is based on "marriage first, love comes later". Spouses do not really get to know each other before marriage.

    Therefore, the criteria for choosing a spouse are quite superficial and often extrinsic (what is their family like, etc).

    In such a world, a victim of sexual abuse has to fear rejection when telling the truth.

    To me, this shows that the hareidi world does not live according to torah-values like compassion, caring for widows and orphans. As far as shidduchim go, the hareidi world is quite cruel.

    To an outsider, this question and answers sound ridiculous. Because who would want to marry before enough confidence was established to talk about such things?

    Which therapist could state with confidence that being raped by a family member will have no repercussions on the sexual life of the victim?

    It sounds as if those people live in lala-land. And still, this lala-land exists.this would be a good occasion for the hareidi world to do some soul-searching about their shidduch practices.

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  5. don -- don't know details, but enough to affect her emotionally (in married intimacy issues, etc), and physically (certain physical symptoms in childbirth indicating abuse, I wont get into). also, the court record that I wasn't supposed to see. don't believe the courts when they tell a record is sealed. I saw it.

    I got a heter moredet (doesn't need 100, or depositing a get.) both my parents are hungarian, and Hungarians never did either for a moredet (but they did for mental issues) per hatam sofer (EH3) and his father in law (tinyana 100).


    to patience: I often say that those haredim (mostly chassidim that only see their fiancé at a 10 minute "beshow") are really having pre marital sex , except that technically, they are married. there is no love (actually, there is no concept of love.)

    for example, cousin of mine's daughter is marrying an extremely obese girl right after purim. the families are very happy; her family is very rich, he is (presumably) a good yeshiva bochur whose father I can testify is a very hard worker. but in this case, the boy knows what he's getting, and he's happy. (despite SA saying not to marry for $.)

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    1. correction: a cousin's son

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  6. I have no reaction to the piskei halacha from poskim. I yield to them. I can only address the issue of entering marriage with secrets. It is a fatal error, and was actually alluded to by Reb Moshe's response.

    There is hardly an excuse for anyone to withhold something from a spouse. One that comes to mind is the purchase of a gift to surprise him/her on their anniversary/birthday, etc. I am principally against separate bank accounts (it's the secrecy issue, not the number of accounts). Each should know the whereabouts of the other. Keeping secrets raises my suspicion of several ills, such as extramarital relationships, dependent relationships on family, poor or negative bonding with spouse, addictions, etc. Guidance to chassanim and kallahs should address the openness that is part of the foundation of their union.

    I will just add that I am a professional who works with couples.

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    1. you raise an important point. The question however is whether the person will not marry because no one wants damaged goods or whether as Rav Moshe says that he needs to be informed prior to the marriage - but it could be the week before the chasuna.

      There was a young lady who had a genetic problem and her posek told her not to say anything until the week before the chasuna. When she did it was cancelled.

      So yes I would agree with you that ideally there should be no secrets. But there is clearly a heter to keep secrets. I have seen marriages destroyed because secrets weren't kept.

      For example the wife of a cohen who is raped - the husband is told not to believe her. If a husband thinks his wife is fat - he should not be telling her. If he hates his mother in law - it is not helpful to be truthful about it etc etc, Even G-d bent the truth in order to have shalom bayis

      In sum, the issue is not simply that secrets are always allowed or that they are never allowed.

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    2. Would you be interested in writing a guest post on the subject and give some examples of the damage of secrets?

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    3. You would never guessJanuary 29, 2014 at 11:44 AM

      Why can't she marry a cohen? I understand why not a cohen gadol, but if there were no kedushim, why not? It's not as if she could marry her seducer (her brother).
      I ask for a personal reason. I recently was informed that my then 13 year old son raped my then 10 year old daughter. I believed we are handling it appropriately and with the help of caring professionals. Both are in therapy. He has repeatedly apologized to her and admitted that NOW he knows what he did was wrong. She has a great relationship with her parents, who never blamed her. I hope, b'shua tova, that in a few years when she will be in shidduchim, she will find her bashert. I know she doesn't want her future husband to know what happened to her - not so much because she is ashamed. She understands she was a victim. But because she wants ordinary family events and shabbos tables - not have her husband feel like murdering her brother.
      If it is true that she is unable to marry a kohein then it will be very awkward turning down suggestions. Shadchonim should make it a priority to inform girls when a prospect is a kohein. Moreover, they should be forbidden from pressing the issue when the girl's family says no. I don't want my gentle, kind-hearted daughter to suffer more pain.
      On another note, I am so relieved to learn that it could still say besullah on her kesubah.

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    4. You are right: if the prospective groom will consider her "damaged goods" as you express yourself (horrible expression, a human being is not an object), when she reveals the abuse, she is right not to reveal it. Especially since she cannot even be sure that he will respect confidentiality. (I suppose, according to lashon hara rules, he would be obliged to reveal it to other shidduch prospects of hers).

      The problem is: Why would people want to get married, before they have established a relationship of trust that would allow her to reveal it?

      That is the systemic problem in the shidduch system. On the one hand, everyone is afraid of the rest of the community, because whatever they do could damage their shiddich chances. And on the other hand, everybody tries to pull wool over everybody's eyes in order to secure a good shidduch.

      It is inherent in the system that people would tend to keep secrets about things that could be critical.

      Because shidduch is not about human beings and human relationships, it is about CVs and about how prestiguous a prospective partner looks on the paper.

      As soon as the method consists of going through a catalogue of potential spouses and picking "the best one", it's not about human interaction and people will try to deceive.

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    5. "Why can't she marry a cohen?"

      Because she would fall into the category of a woman having had forbidden relationships, (technically called "Zonah"), like a woman who had relationships with a non-jew.

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    6. Are you sure your way of dealing with it is healthy? The Son remains in the family, his crime is never revealed to anyone (what if he does the same thing to his children? Should his wife not be informed?) The daughter is more preoccupied with her brother's social status than with her own health?

      To me it looks difficult to heal in an environment where the perpetrator is never outed.

      And it looks difficult to keep such a secret from a spouse.

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    7. You would never guessJanuary 29, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      He remains in the family because SHE wants a "normal" family, or at least the appearance of one (she is a teenage girl), and we are committed to doing whatever it takes to make her happy. As far as he is concerned, the authorities were involved. Because of his youth, the police agreed to turn it over to social services. They, in turn, insisted he receive weekly therapy for an unspecified amount of time. I, too, am in therapy to: a) overcome my feelings of guilt (we were in the house at the time!), and b) deal with my feelings towards my son (ranging from anger to hate to pity to protectiveness)
      As far as repeat behavior, his psychiatrist doesn't think he will. My son has been treated for ADD since 2nd grade. One of his greatest issues has always been impulse control. As he ages, he is learning to control his impulses. Hard to believe after what I've told you, but he is neither cruel nor rebellious. Just weak.

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    8. You would never guessJanuary 29, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      What happens to an eishes kohein who is raped? Is her husband forced to divorce her? I ask because my daughter did not have a "relationship". She was raped.

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    9. this has been discussed before and it should be available by searcing for rape choen.

      If not I will gather some material soon

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    10. Kol Hakavod to "You would never guess!" Finally it seems like someone faced with this tragic situation is stepping up to the plate - facing the problem head on - and doing what needs to be done! We need more like you in Am Yisroel!

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    11. Why wouldn't she be able to marry a Kohen, even l'chatchila? A woman doesn't have to be a Betulah to marry a Kohen, and a rape(at least before they are married) would only matter if it were a non-Jew who did it.

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    12. Rav Sternbuch and Rav Triebetz both said she is prohibited to a cohen. That is assuming there was penetration.

      Rambam says that is she had relations with someone that she is prohibited as ervah then she can't marry a cohen

      רמב"ם איסורי ביאה יח

      הלכה א
      מפי השמועה למדנו שהזונה האמורה בתורה היא כל שאינה בת ישראל, או בת ישראל שנבעלה לאדם שהיא אסורה להנשא לו איסור השוה לכל, או שנבעלה לחלל אף על פי שהיא מותרת להנשא לו, לפיכך הנרבעת לבהמה אף על פי שהיא בסקילה לא נעשית זונה ולא נפסלה לכהונה שהרי לא נבעלה לאדם, והבא על הנדה אף על פי שהיא בכרת לא נעשית זונה ולא נפסלה לכהונה שהרי אינה אסורה להנשא לו. +/השגת הראב"ד/ שהזונה האמורה וכו'. כתב הראב"ד ז"ל /א"א/ ליתנהו להני כללי שאין זונה אלא מחייבי כריתות או מעכו"ם ועבד שאין בהן קידושין מיהו כל הפסולים לבא בקהל אם באו עליה פסלוה מן הכהונה ומן התרומה ואפילו חלל משום דכתיב ולא יחלל זרעו מה הוא מחלל אף זרעו מחלל אבל ללקות עליה משום זונה לא עכ"ל.+

      הלכה ב
      וכן הבא על הפנויה אפילו היתה קדשה שהפקירה עצמה לכל אף על פי שהיא במלקות לא נעשת זונה, ולא נפסלה מן הכהונה שהרי אינה אסורה להנשא לו, אבל הנבעלת לאחד מאיסורי לאוין השוין בכל ואין מיוחדין בכהנים, או מאיסורי עשה ואין צריך לומר למי שהיא אסורה לו משום ערוה, או לעכו"ם ועבד הואיל והיא אסורה לו להנשא הרי זו זונה.

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    13. Ok right... the incestual part... somehow that slipped my mind.

      However in that case why does penetration matter? The Sh"A rules in Eh"E 6:9
      כל הנבעלה לאדם שעושה אותה זונה בין באונס בין ברצון בין בזדון בין בשגגה בין כדרכה בין שלא כדרכה משהערה בה נפסלה משום זונה ובלבד שתהיה בת שלש שנים ויום אחד ויהיה הבועל בן תשע שנים ויום אחד ומעלה

      That would seem to indicate that penetration is not a factor. If the relationship results in being possul to a Kohen however it happens, it is possul to a Kohen.

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  7. If he thought she is a besula and gives her a kesuba of a besula, then the marriage is a classical case of MEKACH TAOS and the marriage is invalid and as if it never took place.

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    1. Even according to you, nate, then if he "stayed" with her even one night, he cannot claim mekach taut later. (Per IM case of homodexual husband)

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  8. What a dilemma of when to tell. The only way out is to believe that never telling is a viable and practical option without enormous risks of damaging the lives of the spouses and their children. I simply believe that the risks are so high that it is gambling dangerously to hope that can happen. On the other hand there is no ideal time. Too early and it hurts shidduchim. Too late and it creates the damage of broken engagements or marriages. Let me propose an admittedly wacky solution that I do not believe in. The idea comes to me from R. Moshe's view that there is no need to disclose not being a virgin if the woman was not frum because it is then presumed. Why not establish a presumption that all children are molested. Then there is no kedushe taus problem. I know the idea stinks for all sorts of reasons. I just threw it out to highlight the real problem: the unreasonable need to make believe molesting does not happen when it happens all too often. Unless the underlying problem is solved and the stigma of abuse can be lifted, there will be no good solutions. Psak may be possible, but most will be making the best of an attrocious dilemma created by frum denial.

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  9. It is unfortunate that any Rav or Therapist would advise NOT to be upfront and honest about such an important issue that effects both parties. It is NOT OK to wait till after an engagement to discuss such an issue. One should not mention this until one is sure they are up to the point where they can trust one and other and they are ready to get engaged. At that point they would not want to hurt each other and would be able to keep a confidence.

    And the abused party should also not blurt it out but find the proper way to disclose this information, either with the help of their therapist or Rav. The issue does NOT have to be disclosed to the entire family of the party in question, just the young person in question. If that person feels it is necessary to discuss the information with their parents they should ask for permission to do so. If permission isn't granted then there should be no hard feelings if it is decided on the spot to end the relationship.

    If the therapist and/or Rav can help to explain that there is no need to discuss it with the parents because the "dater" has been in therapy and is healthy and it will not effect their ability to marry and is willing to put it in writing and maybe even write up a pre-nup detailing this as a willingness to divorce if it becomes an issue and have the dater's Rav sign it as a witness it would help de-stigmatize the process and allow for smoother sailing.

    There are definitely ways to make this work and to keep it confidential. But waiting till the last minute is not the way to go. That will only cause heartache and anger. And not disclosing it will also cause heartache and anger. It is only by means of honesty and understanding along with mutual respect and consideration that such issues can be handled appropriately.

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    1. Please explain "there are definitely ways to make this work and keep it confidential"

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  10. Lets understand first why it doesn't work when it is hidden from the other party. No one likes to feel like they were tricked. No one likes to feel like they were lied to. No one likes to feel like they were not trusted especially when they were chosen as a life partner. Keeping such a huge piece of information a secret is like saying "i don't trust you, you and I are not "really" sole mates and I can't trust you with the deepest most important or sensitive issues in my life. Right from the start there is a break in trust and a crack in the foundation that they are trying to build their marriage on.

    A true foundation is built on truth and trust. A marriage built on lies and secrets is doomed from the start. Whether it is such a secret or another health issue, any partner or even the parents will feel duped and cheated.

    How can such issues be worked out? There are many victims of abuse who are married and have good relationships. Their spouses know about their abuse and support their spouses in their therapy as well as in their position whether it is forgiveness or it is exposing their abusers. Support is the key with any issue in any relationship. Any partner needs to understand that a victim is just that a victim, someone that had no power or control over the circumstance and had no choice in the matter. Their choices were stolen from them, they were taken advantage of and were not in a position where they could make their own decisions they cannot be blamed and therefore cannot be held accountable for someone else's actions and cannot be judged for something that happened to them.

    If everything else falls into place then you have to think long and hard why Hashem brought you this shidduch. If this person is being honest with you, and there is a Rav and a therapist involved assuring you that this person is capable of carrying on a true marital relationship then take your time. Don't jump into an engagement, ask questions. Meet together with the therapist and with the Rav. Ask as many questions as you need to. See how far the honesty goes. If the person doesn't change once the truth comes out, and is the same person you were dating, and has no problem being upfront and honest with you while answering your questions you will have to decide if you can handle the information that you heard.

    But by all means do not drop the shidduch because of what other people might say. They do not have a right to decide for you and they do not even have a right to know about this issue. It is very personal and private and it is between a person and their partner and no one else. And if you decide to drop the shidduch, know that you were trusted with very sensitive information. The key word is "trusted" and never forget that. Never repeat to anyone what you know.

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    1. ""i don't trust you, you and I are not "really" sole mates and I can't trust you with the deepest most important or sensitive issues in my life."

      But that's how shidduchim work, simply because both partners are not given enough time to bond before marriage. So I would say that within the "shidduch" system, it is practically impossible to build up enough trust before marriage in order to be comfortable enough to reveal realities that do not fit the norm. And it is quite impossible to reveal such realities and still be accepted by the partner.

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    2. Patience you keep repeating the same mantra. There is no evidence that spending a lot of time before getting engaged, even living together for years - makes people to have greater trust, security or knowledge.

      People who live together prior to marriage - and according to you get to know each other very well - don't have better marriage or have less likelihood of divorce. People who have know each other for years do not have greater security, lower divorce rates etc etc than those who follow the shidduch system.

      Spending extra time does not necessarily producing stronger bonding, trust etc etc. Please produce some evidence to justify your assertion.

      in sum, your assertion is based on your belief that it most be so - but it isn't

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    3. Actually I am pretty sure that the evidence goes quite contrary. That in fact a couple that cohabits before marriage is far more likely to divorce.

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    4. Pleas read again what I wrote:

      So I would say that within the "shidduch" system, it is practically impossible to build up enough trust before marriage in order to be comfortable enough to reveal realities that DO NOT FIT THE NORM.

      Since the shidduch process is so goal-oriented towards marriage, caracterstics that are outside the norm (divorced parents, non-frum siblings, etc.) will easily be used as cause for rejection, sometimes even before a first meeting takes place.

      That's probably the reason why the question whether abuse should be revealed is even asked. If one could be sure that it will not cause rejection, there would be no question!

      By the way: I am quite shocked by the header you added: the perpetrator is "doing well in kollel". How can that be? What does this say about the ethics of kollelim? Shouldn't you also raise the question whether he can marry without revealong his acts of sexual abuse?

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    5. Patience instead of going around in circles please explain what trust has to do with marrying someone who has been sexually abused? Similarly with other issues such as someone who had cancer. I was asked recently about the advisablity of marrying a wonderful young man who had everything she was looking for in terms of midos, Torah learning, personality etc etc. But he also has a form of Tay Sachs which doesn't manifest itself until about 35. At which type he will become bipolar, paranoid schizophrenic etc etc.

      What about marrying someone with a family history of early Alzheimer's.

      So again - what does trust or getting to know the person better. All marriages are a gamble. If you had a number of options - why would you pick one that carries such a burden?

      Regarding the issue of "doing well in kollel" - yes it is a major issue and I have discussed in the past. But that wasn't the topic under discussion.

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    6. The difference is, to put it shortly, anonymity. It is a difference whether you want to marry "someone" who has xyz or whether you want to marry Ruchele or Yankele, but it turns out that he/she also has xyz.

      In the shidduch system, anonymity is kept, until all the xyz's are ruled out. Therefore people with any xyz will have trouble finding a partner, while people who appear to be like the norm, without xyz, will be let into the second pool, where Ruchele and Yankele matter, rather than anonymity.

      I read an interesting report by a father who adopted a boy with a severe disability - but it was not known at the time. This same father refused to adopt another boy with a little finger missing. Now he is devoted to his son who needs fulltime care - but never would he have adopted him, had he known.

      It's a question of timing: does the personel bond form first - than traits of personality, individual love, common history might be stronger than a past of abuse or a future of alzheimer.

      But in the shidduch system, those bonds are not allowed to form before the decision is taken. Religious values are preached, but not lived. So very rarely will the disabilty, illness, etc. be accepted out of chessed. Hence the rejection of any individual with "issues", hence the cruelty of society towards victims of abuse, hence the question whether abuse should be revealed.

      PS: I really think you should post an article about the question whether the perpetrator should be allowed to marry without informing the prospective spouse of his acts, and whether the community should invest in him learning torah full-time in the framework of a collel. To me, the answer to both questions is a resounding NO.

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    7. The shidduch system provides for some measure of dealing with problem cases by saying it is all right not to reveal all information until some sort of bond has happened. You are saying that people should be able to get to know each other and thus over come their distaste for particular blemishes. The Shidduch system says there has to be some limitations. People can't continue seeing each other when sexual attraction become strong and inhibitions become weak. A person might really enjoy spending dates with a girl with bipolar - but he would not be interested in marriage.

      Put another way. Parents of retarded children, mentally ill ones, physically ill ones - will typically say that they love their children and don't want to lose them. However if you give them a choice most parents will say they don't want to have such children. A normal person will avoid having a spouse with serious problems - especially when a normal spouse is also available.

      In sum, you are providing an unlimited relationship in the hopes that problems will be ignored. Often they are not and other issues develop - how does your system deal with this?

      Regarding your ps. It is an important issue - but I don't have the time right now to organize the material properly.

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    8. You say: "A normal person will avoid having a spouse with serious problems - especially when a normal spouse is also available." and you say "All marriages are a gamble".

      I think that this contradiction is at the heart of the problem.

      What you say - "A normal person will avoid having a spouse with serious problems - especially when a normal spouse is also available." this "also available" is the indifference, the anonymity I mentionned.

      This whole mentality of marrying "someone" rather than "that particular person" encourages a culture of hiding and deceit, associated with a culture of fear (don't let the neighbours know).

      I think that any victim of abuse really wants to share what happened to them with their significant other, as soon as the relationship has deepened, when enough trust is established.

      I personnally think it is too early to marry as long as this level of trust has not been reached.

      On the other hand, I understand very well that this level of trust cannot be reached within 2-10 dates, with the parents waiting behind the door and asking "Nu? Nu? What do you think?"

      And lastly, I find your insinuation that "People can't continue seeing each other when sexual attraction become strong and inhibitions become weak." quite insulting to mankind. Do you really think that two persons cannot get to know each other slowly, over 1-2 years, in a framework like work or studies, without hopping into bed?

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    9. "I think that any victim of abuse really wants to share what happened to them with their significant other, as soon as the relationship has deepened, when enough trust is established." Why? Any evidence from real abuse victims?

      "On the other hand, I understand very well that this level of trust cannot be reached within 2-10 dates, with the parents waiting behind the door and asking "Nu? Nu? What do you think?" - how much time 3 years? 10 years?


      And lastly, I find your insinuation that "People can't continue seeing each other when sexual attraction become strong and inhibitions become weak." quite insulting to mankind. Do you really think that two persons cannot get to know each other slowly, over 1-2 years, in a framework like work or studies, without hopping into bed? -

      Do you have any awareness of what goes on in the world. About the common problem of date rape - which comes when people are getting to know each other and trust each other!

      Stop being naive

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    10. Yes, I have awareness of what goes on in the world. Your knowledge of "the world", on the other hand, seems quite limited and biased.

      It is true that the problem of date rape exists, in 1 case in 1000 or 1 in 10'000. It is about as prevalant as pedophilia or incest in hareidi society. So while it is important to take this problem seriously and to fight it, it would be an error to generalise it and to act as if people in secular society were just waiting to jump one on the other. I find, on the contrary, that people who are used to coeducation and permanent contact with the other sex are less likely to be aroused when it is out of place than people who grew up or live with strict gender separation. I also find that people from gender-mixed societies tend to respect the sexual desires (and especially non-desires) of others more than people from gender-segregated societies.

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    11. your comment about pedophilia implies that the rates are higher in chareidi society - no such statistics exist.

      If you want to compare date rape in the chareidi world to the secular world you will see a huge difference and that is what I was referring to. So your comment about arousal is rather irrelevant to the question of whether long term "getting to no you for a long time to be able to trust you" of the secular world is more likely to lead to rape than the shidduch system.

      Here are some statistics
      http://www.campussafetymagazine.com/Channel/Public-Safety/articles/2012/03/Sexual-Assault-Statistics-and-Myths.aspx
      Sexual Assault Statistics
      Here are some important sexual assault statistics that can help your institution make informed decisions when developing policies to protect your campus community.
      89

      by Robin Hattersley Gray - Also by this author
      March 06, 2012 | Comments (6) | Post a comment

      Between 20% and 25% of women will experience a completed and/or attempted rape during their college career (1)
      More than half of raped college women tell no one of their victimization (1)
      80% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 30 (1)
      44% of sexual assault and rape victims are under the age of 18 (1)
      Persons with a disability had an age-adjusted rate of rape or sexual assault that was more than twice the rate for persons without a disability (1)
      Juveniles (youth ages 17 and under) account for almost 90% of male victims in every type of sex crime (1)
      99% of people who rape are men (1)
      In 1 in 3 sexual assaults, the perpetrator was intoxicated (1)
      Only about 2% of all sexual assault accusations reported to police turn out to be false. This is the same rate of false reporting as other types of violent crimes. (1)
      Victims were on a date with the perpetrator in 12.8% of completed rapes and 35% of attempted rapes (2)
      43% of the sexual victimization incidents involve alcohol consumption by victims and 69% involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrators (2)
      Approximately 1 in 5 female high school students report being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner (3)
      College freshmen and sophomore women appear to be at greater risk of being victims of sexual assault than are upperclassmen. 84% of the women who reported sexually coercive experiences experienced the incident during their first four semesters on campus. (4)
      Students living in sorority houses and on-campus dormitories are 3 times and 1.4 times (respectively) more likely to be raped than students living off-campus (5)
      38% of college-aged women who have been sexually victimized while in college had first been victims prior to entering college, making past victimization the best predictor of future victimization (6)
      At least 50% of college student sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use (7)
      Fraternity men have been identified as being more likely to perpetrate sexual assault or sexual aggression than nonfraternity men (8)
      College men who participated in aggressive sports (including football, basketball, wrestling and soccer) in high school used more sexual coercion (along with physical and psychological aggression) in their college dating relationships than men who had not. This group also scored higher on attitudinal measures thought to be associated with sexual coercion, such as sexism, acceptance of violence, hostility toward women and rape myth acceptance. (9)
      90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol (10)
      30% of the college women who said they had been raped contemplated suicide after the incident (11)

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  11. Patience, I believe you are arguing just for the sake of arguing. It is naive and nonsense to believe that any male and female can date without touching, kissing and more for a year or two. That is just ludicrous and goes against anything and everything that is natural. Human beings are just that, human. They are NOT robots. They have feelings emotions and needs. One cannot expect them not to experience and feel what they would naturally feel in the dating process as they become more attracted to each other, develop loving and caring feelings for each other, and have a need to get close. Do you really think that either one would want to torture the other by forcing them to keep their distance for so long? Don't you understand why WE chareidi and Yehsivish people marry our children off so quickly after they get engaged? That is so we don't torture them by keeping them apart because they are not allowed to touch and kiss and be together like secular people are.

    So when young adults start dating, they are dating for the purpose of finding their soul mates. They are not playing games or going out for fun. The process is serious business, in search of a life long partner. And the process is NOT happenstance. Each family checks out the prospects before the two even meet to make sure they will have something in common and that they would be a good fit for each other. That is why the dating process can be shorter than in the secular world. By the time the young couple meet they already have a lot of information about each other. So as they get to know each other on a personal level, they already know in one date or two if they are NOT interested. And if they are up to date number 4 or 5 they already feel some sort of connection to each other. They might not be ready to get engaged yet but they are already forming some kind of bond. They are already beginning to feel and know if the other party can be trusted and if they feel comfortable enough discussing serious issues with them. If they feel they are heading in the right direction they might not feel ready yet and might need a few more dates to be sure, but they can control the topics they speak about to see what type of person they are dating and what their reactions are to various situations. They can figure out the type of person they are dealing with and whether or not this person can be trusted with the information. And when they figure out whether this person would be a good soulmate and can be trusted that is when they have to be honest with the other person. Because it is only through honesty that they can build a real foundation for partnership, true love, trust and marriage. (cont)

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  12. cont.
    There is nothing wrong with our system other than the fact that you don't like it and don't believe in it. On the other hand we don't like or believe in the secular system of living together and sleeping together before marriage. It is a cop out and rarely does that arrangement lead to true commitment or marriage. That is just a lazy man's way of sleeping with whomever he likes and never making a commitment to truly love or care for a life long partner. That is immaturity and irresponsibility at its finest. The problem with that is, that somehow men convinced women that this is liberating and a good idea. How exactly did that become a good idea? Look how many single moms are out there because their so called soul mates, the love of their lives, just took off and left them to raise their kids all by themselves. Or even if they did get married, got divorced just as quickly because these men were never taught and were never held accountable for "commitments and responsibility". They are always looking over their shoulder for a new model and the latest trend to hit the scene until they wake up one morning and they are 40 years old and realize that life is really about family. But they are still too foolish to go dating in their own age pool because if they want to have kids, they need to go for younger women in their 20's who they can't commit to, so the cycle keeps going and going.

    You see, as much as you would like to analyze our way of doing things and find fault with our system, we can do the same. If you just use common sense there are ways to figure things out, and make it work for whatever problem and whatever difficulty arises. The whole point is to ask questions from the appropriate people, so that you get the appropriate answers.

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