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A Few Words to the Victims of Abuse
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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A Few Words to the Victims of Abuse:

I am generally an upbeat person by nature and I do my best to follow the derech of the ba’alei mussar to maintain a level of an external simchas hachaim even when my heart is heavy. However, my wife has an uncanny ability to read my thoughts and she can always tell when I get off the phone with an abuse victim, as it shakes me to my very core each and every time.

Well; she certainly noticed that something was very wrong today when I walked into our home an hour ago. For throughout the day, I fielded emails from abuse victims who were deeply hurt by my decision to oppose the Markey Bill, which I articulated in the column I disseminated today.

By now, I am used to critical comments (and worse) in response to things that I write. But in all the years that I have been writing, I have never experienced this type of visceral reaction to a column of mine – where people felt personally betrayed, wounded and even violated by something I had written.

I am saddened beyond words if my column caused you to feel this way, and humbly ask your forgiveness for any pain it may have caused you. I will not use these lines to explain my position, or even to explain that my opposition to the Markey Bill did not and will not in any way diminish my support for your cause. Now is not the time for that. Many of you felt that you had a friend and advocate in me, and regardless of my good intentions, I let you down because my words were understood to be a betrayal of the trust you placed in me.

I accepted an invitation to meet with someone tomorrow, who is a strong proponent of the bill, and assured him that I will listen to him with an open mind, as he makes the case in favor of the Markey Bill. More importantly, I give you my word that over the next few weeks, I will ask several of our leading gedolim for the opportunity to meet with them, and I will convey to them the feelings you expressed to me today. I think it is important that I do so – for all involved.

I need some time to process all the raw emotions that were unleashed in my direction today, and I am not sure yet, just how to channel them productively. But in the meantime, I ask you again to please accept my deepest apologies.


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