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What's the Deal with These Protestors?
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz

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5/25/12

Tuesday evening, a charming and sincere young man who is a survivor of childhood abuse shared with me that he had driven seven hours each way in order to attend a protest at the "Internet Asifa" in CitiField. He mentioned how gratifying it was and how pleased he was to have made the trip. This was the second rally recently organized by abuse victims - the first was held at a Williamsburg fundraiser for an individual who is under indictment for allegedly molesting a child over a period of 4 years.

These protests have elicited a wide range of emotions among members of our community along a continuum ranging from sorrow and sympathy to bewilderment and bemusement and even to hostility and anger.

Moreover, many members of our community have been asking those of us who are advocates for abuse survivors, "What's the deal with these protests? What exactly do they [the survivors] want?

Others are asking more basic questions, like, "Why can't they just move on with their lives?" or "Someone messed around with a friend of mine, and he got over it. Why can't they?"

Well, my friends, it will serve us well to better understand the survivors and what exactly it is they want. We ought to because this conversation is very long overdue. But in a practical sense, it is imperative that we do because in all likelihood these protests will grow and intensify in the weeks and months ahead. The survivors are finding their voices and they will only gain traction now that the national and even international media is covering the abuse matter as it relates to our community.

To begin with, one needs to really understand why abuse is so destructive to its victims. For that, a careful and thorough review of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs might be a good place to start.

In a nutshell, Maslow divided all human needs into 5 groups and suggests that they are sequential in nature -- meaning that until all Level 1 needs are met, it is impossible to move on to Level 2 needs, and that Level 3 needs cannot be realized until Level 2 needs are met.

Here are the groups of needs as Maslow sees things:

  • Level 1 - [The Most] Basic Needs (such the need for food, water and shelter)
  • Level 2 - Safety and Security (the need to feel protected from danger)
  • Level 3 - Socialization (the need to bond with family and friends)
  • Level 4 - Self Esteem (the need to feel self-confident and respected)
  • Level 5 - Self Actualization (the need to "be all you can be.")

For a practical example of Maslow's theory in action; just imagine that your car breaks down on the wrong side of the tracks and you are fearful for your safety. Just then a childhood friend calls and says, "Hi, Yankie, I'm in town for the week. Can we get together and catch up on things?" However, much as you would love to enjoy the Level 3 need of socialization under regular conditions, your brain quite literally cannot even contemplate engaging in that pleasure when your life is in danger.

Child abuse destroys innocent children's lives in so many ways. But perhaps the most damaging component of all, is the fact that is that it totally destroys their Level 2 security -- without which it is quite literally impossible for them to rebuild their lives. How can they ever feel safe again after they were violated? Just imagine what it would be like having a childhood where you were living 24/7 like that fellow in the dangerous neighborhood who had a broken-down car noted above? And this is all the more damaging when it is perpetrated by a family member, friend, or educator whom the children were depending on to keep them safe. For if the adults in whose care they rely on are hurting them, who in the world can they ever fully trust again?

It is also important to note that just like people celebrate sports victories and/or losses in diverse manners, so too do they have different time frames in which they can successfully recover from the incredible trauma of childhood abuse.

All of this is exacerbated when the children come forward and are not believed, or worse yet punished or threatened for reporting their molester. It is quite literally a second round of abuse and it just reinforces their feeling of being rootless and wind-driven. In fact, so many victims report that they were more devastated by not being believed than they were from the original abuse.

Speaking of not believing the victim, research indicates that the overwhelming majority of children who come forward with abuse allegations were telling the truth. Think about it. Why would anyone in their right mind come forward with a claim of being abused if it didn't happen? (The exception to this rule is in messy custody battles where one party clearly stands to gain if the other is maligned.) All the more so in our community where there is unfortunately a stigma attached to those who do so and to their families. Going public and helping to get the perpetrator apprehended, in order to protect the lives of other innocent children, often comes at great personal cost to the survivors and their families.

About five years ago, as awareness in our community about the matter of child abuse began to rise, many of the long-suffering victims began to hope against hope that things would finally change. People would finally "get it" they believed, and they would once again feel welcome and nurtured instead of being treated as pariahs who ruined the sterling reputations of their abusers. Who knows, they might even get their Level 2 security back again.

Then they pick up a charedi publication one weekend and see a picture of a group of distinguished rabbis visiting a monster in a Virginia jail cell, who was serving a 31-year prison sentence for raping his daughter in three continents over a period of many years. More than 10 survivors contacted me as soon as that picture ran in the paper. "How could they do that to us?" they asked me. "Don't they know that by supporting the molestor they are stabbing us in the heart?" they cried. Well, they are. They really are.

And what in the world should survivors in our community think when they see a huge fundraiser for someone accused of molesting a child? Many of them viewed the very public nature of this effort as clear warning of what is in store in the future for anyone else who might dare report a predator to the authorities.

For many of the survivors, though, the final straw was the Internet Asifa. Why were they so upset? Let me count the ways for them.

To begin with, the kids in the street know the truth -- that the Internet is a firecracker compared to the atom bomb of abuse as far as going off the derech is concerned. Just ask any of them -- or any of the adults in our community who work with the at-risk teen population, what the main reason is for children leaving Yiddishkeit.

Moreover, many of these kids credit the connectivity of the Internet for finally raising awareness of abuse in our community, and as we all know, there is more than a kernel of truth there. "Why are the people running the Asifa blaming the Internet for causing children to go off the derech and saying nothing about the matter of child safety?" they wonder.

Bottom line, there are hundreds and hundreds of abuse victims and survivors who were once part of our kehilos. Some left completely while others exist on the fringes - misunderstood, marginalized, and hurting.

Trust me, the vast, overwhelming majority of them are nice kids who want neither vengeance nor revenge. They do, however, want to see that today's children don't suffer the way they did and they desperately want to see that things are changing as it relates to child safety.

Now that the lid has blown off, these young men and women, who had their innocent childhoods stolen from them, by vicious predators masquerading as upstanding members of the community, will have their voices heard and their stories told. We have two stark choices. We can reach out, engage them and really listen to what they have to say. Or we can continue to give them the back of our hands, and then we will hear their tortured messages through the front pages of the newspapers and under the glaring lights of television cameras.

Recommended reading:

L'maan Hashem - What Will It Take? Let's start protecting our children



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1. I could not have said it any better myself.     5/25/12 - 12:52 AM
Asher Lipner - Brooklyn, NY - lipnera@gmail.com

Reb Yankie,

Does this mean we will be seeing you at one of our next protests?

At last Sunday's "the internet is not the problem" Asifa, the presence of Rabbi Yitzchak Eisenman and of Rabbi Ronnie Greenwald were greatly appreciated by all.

When Rabbi E. was walking over, crossing the street and the "aisle", if you will, I felt in our crowd a palpable excitement. "Who is that?" people asked, as he casually walked through the crowd. With his long beard and payos, his "up hat" and his long bekesha, he inspired a mixture of fear, awe, hope and love in all of the survivors. After he spoke with me for a few minutes, I explained to people that there are indeed a few real rabbis left in our community, and he is one of the best. His essay, published the very next day on vosizneias (as I hope this one will be), proved what I said.

Yasher Koach for keeping the ball rolling,

Asher


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2. Thank you Rabbi Horowitz!     5/25/12 - 3:12 AM
Ad-Kan

I commend you on this piece of writing which so clearly explains the agony of the victims. I am the editor of adkanenough.com as well as an advocate and a survivor of child sexual abuse. I understand well this pain you talk about. Thank you for you support. I truly hope that other Rabbonim will follow in your footsteps.


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3.     5/25/12 - 7:58 AM
Bracha Goetz - Baltimore

Beautifully expressed, B'H!


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4. Gavra rabba!     5/25/12 - 9:18 AM
Yossi Ginzberg - NYC

Thank you for having the courage to speak out- Too many are marginalized for failure to be "unzere", but your taking a stance cannot be ignored.

On the other hand, if there are bad consequences, you are welcome to come stay with me anytime!

Yossi Ginzberg


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5. And yet...     5/25/12 - 9:35 AM
Anonymous

you're still under the Agudah. I think it's time to take a principled stand, especially now that the Agudah is digging in their heels and requiring permission before reporting abuse.


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6. Yaasher Koach     5/25/12 - 10:31 AM
Yosef Blau - New York, New York - yoblau@yu.edu

It is unfortunately necessary to maintain the pressure, but hopefully soon Jewish children will have their cries heard and will be supported in confronting their abusers.


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7. Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!     5/25/12 - 10:38 AM
Anonymous - myr2106@Columbia.edu

It's so refreshing and encouraging to hear a frum Rabbi take a stand for an issue that is so urgent.......I was not physically or sexually abused by any Rabbi, but our differences made it clear that I will not find my place in the frum community.Still, I feel like the frum community has a lot of value to offer. They just need to get some priorities straight. It's great to attack the internet. They are 50% right, that it can be a great distraction. A)Don't only attack the distraction. Build stimulating educational environments that ATTRACT so that kids actually want to live and learn. B) The abuse of children is horrible and bad of course, and at the same time, is in a way only symptomatic of the general attitude that as long as the child can memorize chumash rashi, and the rebbe can assist in that (with the assistance of a few small klep) that Rebbe is fit to teach. The Torah teaching system needs to become one where children can not only be safe, which goes without saying, but that they can thrive and actually enjoy learning. (which I'm told happens in some of the educational environments you have created Rabbi Horowitz, so I'm preaching to the choir)........that's a long way of saying thank you.


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8. I'm still not sure...     5/25/12 - 10:46 AM
Manny

I 100% agree that there is a major problem with Molesters in our community and we have to do everything in our power to get rid of this menace that is attacking our children. HOWEVER, 98% of the people at the ASIFA have no power to make any changes. All they can do is try to be ehrliche yidden. Daven 3 times a day, work and make a living and try to set time for learning. Although I agree that some awareness is necessary in order for them to teach their children of the dangers of Molesters(and BELIEVE them if they complain) but anything more than that will just make matters worse and will take away from being an ehrilcher yid. This is my opinion and I may be wrong.


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9. a leaky boat     5/25/12 - 10:59 AM
Avi - NYC

Kol hakavod to Rabbi Horowitz for a very nice essay.

However, as he has always done, he still refuses to point any real fingers where the blame is due, at the people who are truly responsible for everything he claims to be fighting against. Just this week, our esteemed leaders in the Agudah OFFICIALY said (no more beating around the bush) that people should always report suspicions to rabbonim, and not the secular authorities (http://is.gd/CG4evS), and yet, he doesn't even mention that at all. What kind of message do you think this sends?!

It's truly wonderful that the good Rabbi is trying to promote support for the victims and trying to bring about greater awareness for the reality of the problem, and I genuinely believe he deserves credit for that. He is far better than anyone else in our community in that regard. But until he speaks up about the people that are working towards exactly the opposite of what he claims to care about, his efforts ring hollow to me.

It reminds me of the guy in the leaking boat that keeps trying to scoop out the water with a bucket, even as his boat continues to fill with water. Rabbi, when will you do something about the hole in your boat?


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10.     5/25/12 - 11:00 AM
Shoshana Kaufman - University Hts, OH

You are too wonderful. You explain it so clearly & without venom. Thank you for being a true leader of klal Yisroel.


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11.     5/25/12 - 11:21 AM
Anonymous

To begin with, the kids in the street know the truth -- that the Internet is a firecracker compared to the atom bomb of abuse as far as going off the derech is concerned. Just ask any of them -- or any of the adults in our community who work with the at-risk teen population, what the main reason is for children leaving Yiddishkeit.

Indeed I asked kids and adults why they, or the people they worked with, why they left OJ. NONE gave abuse as the main reason.

But that was ten years ago before the internet made abuse a fashionable excuse for leaving OJ. See the book "Off The derech", not one interviewee gave abuse as their excuse. Not even the anonymous online ones.

Every generation finds excuses why they leave. Rabbi B Wein writes that back in the 50's his American born friends all blamed the holocaust. My father tells me his friends all blamed the Yiddish speaking Rabbonim not relating to them (although they spoke Yiddish themselves). In my father's case most of his friends and family who lived to be past mid seventies regretted leaving OJ or came to acknowledge the truth of OJ but by then it was to late.

None of this is to mitigate the problem of abuse or the pain it causes, but Rabbi H is not doing anyone a favor by excusing their behavior with "they were abused".

I'm being diplomatic by saying that I don't understand how anyone can fool themselves into believing those who protested outside the asifah well well intentioned, unless they mean it in the context of "The Soton and Peninah also had Shem Shomayim in mind."

And before you start snarling at me,I ask you to respond with the same love and understanding you would give a kid at risk bashing Orthodox Judaism.


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12. I think a very important piece of advice and awareness is missing in General     5/25/12 - 11:39 AM
Anonymous - NJ

I think most professionals would agree with what I'm going to write. And I know many that do.

And PLEASE don't take me wrongly, as someone that this is blaming anyone for where they are. BUT

I wont't say all, but most of all those taking part in these protests, and any of these victims of abuse that hang laundry in public, are victims that were abused or some one very close to them where hurt some time in their lives. Of course it matters how long you keep it under pressure before it bursts.

But My point is that most of these people where not treated properly. Some might say they went to a therapy counseling, doctor, etc.. and it didn't help. It could be very true, once you are abused in any shape or form it can take years and years of therapy, some times spending more money then you could only imagine. And a lot of times or most of the time it's part of who you are for the rest of your life.

But if you are not strong enough, or the people around you don't support you, or you are not aware what to do once you are a victim. And even you are told let's say by a Rav or Pediatrician take your child to a doctor, social worker or therapy etc..., you don't have the strength to do it. You push it aside out of shame or blame.

And what happens? The victim stays an abused victim and yes, is abused again because he finally told some one and the people that should help him the most, don't get him the help. And then the blaming and abusing starts between the victim and the people they supposed to be loved and supported by. I personnely know of people that spent Thousands on getting help. B"H they married with kids. It's never over, but they live a normal life. I'm not saying every case is the same, and because one or ten people are successful with hard work and pain others can get there.

My point? I think the same amount of time spent on protesting and telling victims and telling other people to expose other people's stories that spent so much effort and money to lead normal life's. Should be spent on awareness on how to get help AND NOT BE A VICTIM.

True, all these protest are validating feelings but sometimes with wrong intentions and Cheshbonos.


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13. GREAT ARTICLE!!!!     5/25/12 - 11:56 AM
Eli Wilamowsky

Rabbi Horowitz, thank you so much for this incredible article, this was so insightful and eye opening and so simple to read. Proud to be a former talmid of yours! Eli


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14. To #10 - not going to snarl at you     5/25/12 - 12:03 PM
The Nudnik - nudnik18@gmail.com

You wrote: "Indeed I asked kids and adults why they, or the people they worked with, why they left OJ. NONE gave abuse as the main reason."

All that proves is that those people were not abused. Or they were and they chose not to share the information with you.

It does not disprove what Rabbi Horowitz wrote.

I have been told by a rabbi I know, who is well known in Agudah circles, that he believes that a substantial percentage of people who have gone off the derech were abused.

No one knows for sure. As far as I know, there have not been any studies of this issue which would be publishable in a reference journal. From what I know of our community, there are not likely to be any, either.


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15. reply to anon 9     5/25/12 - 12:07 PM
Michael - Monsey

I think that if we really look at our motivations for doing anything, we will find that there are many facets and many motivations.

When you buy a Coke in the store, I might ask you why you bought it? Your answer might be "I am thirsty," but that's not the whole answer despite the fact that it is a true statement. But if we look beneath the surface in our example there are other factors which influenced his decision: 1. His brain recalled the enjoyment he had from the last Coke he drank 2. He saw a billboard that made an impression on his brain that drinking Coke is associated with being happy 3. He saw 7 commercials last featuring Coke 4. The price was cheaper on the Coke than on the Vitamin Water 5. The formula that gives Coke its taste was something he wished to experience at that moment The list goes on and on.

What I am trying to demonstrate is that there are so many factors that go into our decision making, most of it shaped by our experiences which paint our perspectives on things. There's no "reason" why people go off the Derech, there are individual factors in the lives of individuals. At times there are many people who share a factor or group of factors and we think we are observing the "reason", but do we really understand what we are seeing fully? I think only G-d can do that.

There is no way for anyone to judge what an abuse victim feels like, we can only try to empathize and seek to understand, as Rabbi Horowitz says. That doesn't mean we have to agree or what the best course of action is.

I would not snarl at you as I recognize that you have a viewpoint based on your experiences. I can't judge you just like I can't judge the victims. You are no different from me or anyone in that respect and I love you as a member of Klal Yisrael. But I do ask you to give pause and look at a perspective that is not your own.


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16. I've Been Waiting...     5/25/12 - 2:37 PM
Ellene Newman - Baltimore

...to hear your take on this. Kol hakavod!


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17. My peek out of silence     5/25/12 - 3:21 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz, these calls are getting more frequent because people are starting to speak up. I don't think that abuse is happening more frequently than it used to 20 years ago, I think the count of child abuse/molestation that was going on then and now are way more shocking numbers than we think.

I am 35 years old, I was molested when I was about 14-15 by 2 separate predators. I am not the type to blame any of my issues on anyone else, I just deal with my issues and work on them to enhance my life, (and I thank G-d for everything that's going just great in my life). I never spoke to ANYONE about it EVER until this week. What hurts me most is that I was not able to tell my parents, I was not close enough -- if anything I was actually more scared of my parents than from the predator.

I admire your work, only voices like yours can change this, the horrifying intimidation by rabbis is disgusting, they lost all their respect in my eyes for there behavior.

Your efforts makes a difference and saves lives, even sometimes you may feel our community is so infested with this ugliness, if the voices that are heard the last few weeks go on and on and on, it will change for a better future.

If I would be the type to speak out in public (of course some response would be I have some agenda of "blame", this would be my bottom line point" I would direct this to parents (AND NOT TO RABBIS AND SCHOOLS), Do and say what you want when it comes to anyone else child I don't care about your ignorace, but "PLEASE if it happends to YOUR child", listean and protect, don't allow intimidation, AND BUILD YOUR BRIDGE OF CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILDREN!!

The rest you can read in-between the lines.

Thank you, Silence of Shame


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18. Expected - awareness or engagement?     5/28/12 - 3:50 PM
Sam

Thank you Rabbi, I was waiting to hear what you say about this protest.

I agree with many of your points, how devastating it is for victims of abuse and how painful it is when they are not believed or supported. I have a couple questions.

What did they expect to gain from the protest? If it was publicity, they got it. What was their message? The community is wasting energy and money on fighting internet instead of abuse? (like the signs they were holding) If that was their message, I do not understand. What is the connection? OK, so people get harassed on facebook or that victims can get help and publicity on the net? The internet is a problem, do you agree? People wanted to make a big event about it. What is wrong with that? Why PROTEST the event? If you know someone who needs a transplant, lo aleinu, you should protest the event? Why are they spending all this money on the internet, there are people sick in the hospital who need money etc. and we should help them! It is mamsh sakanas nefashos! There are a lot of good causes, go raise money and awareness for yours, do not bash or protest other causes. I am clear?

Another question, do you or they really think that the rabbis WANT people to be abused? Many of them viewed the very public nature of this effort as clear warning of what is in store in the future for anyone else who might dare report a predator to the authorities. They may feel that way in their pain but do you think that is the situation? It seems to me that the protest was against the rabbis because of this, that the community is against them. Is that so?

Did they expect that men coming out of the event would come over and talk to them? Why would girls standing outside a men's-only event think that the men should look at them? Could they have at least dressed modestly? I do not mean to say that we should blame the victims etc. but what were they thinking? Of course no-one would look at them. Also, it seemed to me before the event that there were other anti-rabbi, anti orthodox people planning to be at the protest. Did they come? If so, they may have had a good message but let it get taken over by elements harmful to their cause.

May Hashem give all the suffering yidden everywhere a complete yeshua!


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19. How to protest without losing respect     5/29/12 - 8:58 AM
anonymousfornow

Rabbi Horowitz, please don't think I don't validate everyone's pain, but when I read this article I think, how can I read this without losing respect for the gedolim involved in the asifa? What are we supposed to think? What are we supposed to say to our kids?

I think of the quote from Rabbi Nechemiah Gottlieb in a recent Mishpacha, that he might have had his own issues and questions, but what could he say, and who was he to say it? (Sorry, R. Gottlieb, paraphrasing here and maybe not accurately.)

I want an honest answer and some good discussion, and I've read this site long enough to hope I'll get it.


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20.     5/29/12 - 12:38 PM
Ben

'And what in the world should survivors in our community think when they see a huge fundraiser for someone accused of molesting a child?'

So, are you suggesting that a community should not support an askan dealing with troubled children who gets accused of molesting someone?

If a mentor in your program, Project YES, was accused of inappropriate acts, when it is a He says/he says situation- what would your response & the Project Yes response be?

Would you stand to the side & not get involved, because there were & are those that did get & are being molested?

How do you suggest a community should respond??


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21. Thank you!     5/29/12 - 1:04 PM
Anonymous

Rabbi Horowitz,

Thank you for being a voice of sanity and Reason in the Charedi world.

The Charedi community finds it hard to tolerate the existence of, and confront, abuse and domestic violence. Victims usually find that their journey away from the abuse, takes them away from the community.

And let's not forget that even though we often think of abuse in terms of sexual abuse, other forms such as emotional, physical and neglect are equally damaging.

Thanks again.


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22. G-D bless and keep it up!     5/29/12 - 1:21 PM
Tova N.

So well written! You really put the matter out there clear and simple. It's a great piece that everyone needs to read and circulate. This is a huge deal (I know all too well. Thanx for helping in getting it out there. My only thing with the protests at the Asifa is that the Internet is an issue to be addressed, so why protest it? We just need our own Asifa on abuse!!!


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23. Response to Ben     5/29/12 - 1:38 PM
Outside the Community

Response to Ben (#20)

You asked, "So, are you suggesting that a community should not support an askan dealing with troubled children who gets accused of molesting someone?"

Does anyone in the "community" think it was extraordinarily inappropriate for a Chassidishe man with no training (who is so Frum that he doesn't wear his glasses in the street, because he might accidentally see a woman) to be counseling young girls in private for years(which is why it's a "he said she said" situation, as you mentioned in your post)?

If this girl had a "problem", shouldn't she have been seen by a woman (preferably a trained therapist)? What were her parents and teachers thinking, allowing her to go alone for "counseling" to this "askan"? Or perhaps it wasn't their fault, maybe they were coerced into allowing it?

Perhaps the "community" should be spending its money on hiring trained therapists to help the children having problems, instead of defending "askanim" with no training, who spend hours on end alone (Hilchos Yichud anyone??) with vulnerable troubled pre-teen and teen age girls.


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24. can you explain?     5/29/12 - 7:10 PM
A Talmid

I'm trying to understand how these 2 sentences were written by the same person.

"The exception to this rule is in messy custody battles where one party clearly stands to gain if the other is maligned."

"visiting a monster in a Virginia jail cell, who was serving a 31-year prison sentence for raping his daughter in three continents over a period of many years"

oh and the complaint about the fundraising event just tops it off.


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25. asifa on abuse     5/30/12 - 10:08 AM
Anonymous

An asifa on abuse is a good idea. The people who care about the issue and want to see change will get together and talk about how they would like things to change and what they can do. They will empower themselves and others to take action in a sensible, effective way. They will pull together all the change that is already happening into one coherent plan of action.

It would not be represented by the people who most people think they would like to have there. But it would be represented by those who care and truly want to see things change - and they are the ones who can make it happen.

Power is never given; it is taken.

Let me know the date. I'm from the UK, but I'd come for such an asifa.


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26. Critical of the critics     5/30/12 - 3:41 PM
Anonymous - Passaic, NJ

Long before I became frum I was abused by a non-Jew. I will address my concerns with the article in order of importance. Most importantly, the statement "they were more devastated by not being believed" is hyperbole; nothing is more devastating than the abuse. The halacha requires we initially disbelieve the accusation while making all efforts to verify its veracity and to protect everyone from the possible consequences. Next, your assumption that no one "in their right mind" would make a false claim of abuse may be correct, but there are lots of people not in their right mind. American law and Halacha differ, but both seriously consider the possibility that the accused is innocent. In several prominent cases, the majority of Jews have considered convicted felons as being innocent, or at least excessively punished. Third, there is no reason to keep the identity of the indicted Williamsburg man or the "monster" in Virginia a secret, nor the identities of their public supporters, nor that of the "charedi" publication that ran the picture. Since the article began with discussing the Internet Asifa, why make readers dredge through endless Internet loshon hara sites trying to find out what you alluded to? Fourth, at least in my community, issues of mental health, learning disabilities, divorce, television and the Internet are the main reasons for children leaving Yiddishkeit. Certainly there are abused children leaving Yiddishkeit, but that is not the majority reason in my experience. Finally, the decision to protest the Internet Asifa was predicated on achieving international publication of the protesters' complaints. The Asifa was motivated by the political considerations of what could be done, at this time, with the consensus of the majority of the charedi Rabbonim, and to tackle a problem that affects the majority of the public. I do not know if sexual abuse can be best addressed by having an all-male Asifa in a sports stadium, but I agree it did not need to stare the podium at the Internet Asifa. I respect the work that you are doing and I have benefited from it. I just wanted to express my respectful disagreement on some points in your article.


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27. well said     5/31/12 - 8:41 AM
Ari - Brooklyn, NY

Thank you for being so bold and explaining the damage to the victim and thier family.


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28. thank you     5/31/12 - 3:04 PM
Anonymous

Thank for showing the public how clueless you are. Many comments on this string have challenged you. Care to respond?


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29.     5/31/12 - 6:09 PM
Anonymous

One of the sad parts of abuse is that the abused has a propensity to become an abuser. Abuse is generally a selfish harmful action showing no empathy. To keep a Rabbi from visiting an abuser who may also be doing Teshuvah is abusive in itself. Be careful not to turn fighting abuse into an excuse to act abusively.


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30. re 28 (thank you)     5/31/12 - 8:36 PM
anonymousfornow

I don't know if I "challenged" but I did respectfully ask an important question. If Rabbi Horowitz chooses not to answer here - for any number of valid reasons I can come up with - and has the time and energy and can provide an email address, I'd go off this list and carry on the conversation. Meanwhile, I'll assume there is a valid reason not to respond here, or perhaps there will be a future article dedicated to this.


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31. Thiriving or surviving?     6/4/12 - 2:37 PM
Anonymous

Thank you. I have been struggling to survive as a victim for many years and am still most often stuck feeling unsafe and working for safety. I could give many examples and would be happy to share if there is interest.

This is not a fun place to be struggling at my age and I am wondering what kind of support is out there for someone like me who has worked so hard with great integrity and cannot seem to build the foundation necessary to thrive in Hashem's world. Any responses are welcome.

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