Could This Possibly Be True?
Time to Get Frightened
Since the news broke (click here and here) about the arrest of a heimishe man, for repeatedly doing unspeakable things to a girl/young woman over many years, people have been asking me the same question again and again, “Could this possibly be true?”
To all worried parents and community members who are asking this question; my unequivocal answer is, “YES.” Period. Exclamation point.
I do not know any specifics of this particular ghoulish tale other than what I read in the hair-raising copy of the federal indictment (click here and here) but I have heard far more than one or two stories like this one from credible, heimishe people in the past. (For the record; I always ask the victims to go straight to the police and report the abusers.) So even if this story is not true – and it is beyond naïve to think that federal agents would convene a grand jury and make an arrest like this one, merely on the say-so of a vindictive family member, without substantive forensic proof – the terribly sad fact is that it most certainly could be true.
It is exactly these types of horrible stories that I was referring to in the opening lines of my column in the Jewish Press a month ago titled, L'maan Hashem, What Will it Take? Here are the first two sentences of that column: It is difficult to describe the sickening, gut-wrenching sensation I experience when I get phone calls from parents whose children were sexually abused or from adults who have carried the horrible scars of childhood abuse for decades, often shredding their relationships and ruining their lives. And, I am sad to report that those calls are getting more frequent as time goes on.
If your children are married and out of your home, feel free to join those who blame these stories on “Anti-Semitic, goyishe newspapers,” and “Self-hating-Jews-who-love-to-bash-charedim.” Or, you can join those who would rather stay clueless and say things like, “Wow, did you hear that story? Please pass the salt.” You can also trust the ‘leaders’ who tell you not to worry about this since there are only an infinitesimal number of frum pedophiles. But, if you are a parent still entrusted with the care of your children, please read the non-airbrushed story in the secular newspapers and be frightened. Very, very frightened.
I suggest that you develop a mental image of a deranged frum adult walking around your neighborhood with pruning shears viciously cutting off the index fingers of any children that he can get his hands on. Then imagine seeing hundreds of frum kids walking around with bloody bandages around their hands. Are you sufficiently terrified now? Well, that is a tamed down version of how I see things as far as the abuse/molestation issue is concerned. Because these evil monsters that molest our innocent children and the soulless, immoral people who cover for them are cutting out the very neshomos of the poor kids whose lives they ruin.
I honestly do not have the time or emotional energy at this moment to write yet another column on abuse. As far as I am concerned, I have already written and lectured more than enough on the subject. (I encourage you to read these columns that I’ve written on this matter – The Monster Inside, Safe and Secure, Human Problems. Also, here is a clip of a radio interview I gave recently on abuse.) I am heartbroken that so few others in our community have had the courage to do what I have done, and that there are still charedi publications and websites that refuse to discuss this life-threatening, colossal threat to our children. I am also perpetually stunned that our communal anger is deflected from the predators and directed at those who courageously try to improve things.
All I can do is to beg all parents b’chol loshon shel bakasha to take this issue seriously and, l’maan Hashem, please start protecting each and every child of yours as if his or her very life depends on it.
Because it does.
© 2008 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved
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