Monday, November 17, 2008

Child Abuse - A sefer on the Jewish perspective III/ changed focus

My sefer discussing child abuse has passed the 300 page mark and is growing by the hour. It has become obvious that most of the material I am citing is not specific to child abuse. Issues such as rodef, mesira, etc are in fact applicable to other issues such as wife or hsuband abuse, self abuse in the form of drug, alcohol or tobacco abuse, etc etc.

Therefore I have decided to expand the focus of the book. It is now enttled:

 "Abuse of Others (including Oneself) in Halacha and Hashkofa"

All support is greatly appreciated either with 1) sending me relevant sources and issues, 2) financially (through my Paypal account on my blog) and/or 3) buying the sefer when it is out in a projected 5 months.


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  2. I just happen to read "Chafetz Chaim" about lashon hara.

    According to what is said there, it should not be possible to hide behind the "lashon hara" issue and not to take action against child molestors.

    It is permissible to tell negative things about a person in order to prevent harm being done (not pikuach nefesh, just prevent harm).

    The only problem seems to be that it must be first-hand experience. So this would mean: the victim is allowed to speak.

    Now imagine that victims tells a jewish authority that they suffered molestation.

    In this case, the authority cannot dismiss this testimony as lashon hara. The victim is telling it in order to prevent harm from being done to herself and to others. This does not fall in the category of lashon hara, but is clearly permissible according to chafetz chaim.

    If the authority now says that the victim is lying/speaking lashon hara, than it is the authority who is a motze shem ra about the victim, since he accuses him/her of lying, without having proper evidence.

    So the proper reaction of authorities, if they are afraid of dealing with the problem themselfes, would be to tell the victim: Tell every one in town about it. I cannot, since I haven't witnessed it first hand. But you are a first hand witness, so tell everyone, it is not lashon hara, since it is to avoid harm.

    Of course, I see that this course of action is problematic in practice, but at least, victims would not be shut up any more.

  3. "others" can't include "oneself"

  4. "others" can include "oneself" when their is sense of alienation which is typical in the case of self abuse. A related issue is self-deception. How can one deceive himself? But it happens all the time.

  5. So I think this is an important conclusion: you should spread word that it is absolutely no lashon hara to denounce a molestor if you are a victim; on the contrary it is lashon hara to say the victim is speaking lashon hara if there is no proper evidence that the victim lies (=inversion of the burden of proof).

    of course, everyone should be warned that it would be very, very bad and serious to invent such allegations.


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