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The Life-Long Effects of Child Abuse

If not dealt with, molestation can ruin marriages, and affect one's functioning -- Lecture 1 of 6

13 min

Class Summary:

If not dealt with, molestation can ruin marriages, and affect one's functioning -- Lecture 1 of 6

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  • Anonymous -1 year ago

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  • FI

    from Israel -12 years ago

    parents supporting children

    When I became aware that my child of 12yrs had been molested by the father of her friend ( the situation was so destructive at that point that her friend actually brought her to the father for these repeated contacts as well as other girls) I immediately went to our community Rabbi to get permission to go to the police. He did all that he could to dissuade me, citing how this could ruin his marriage, destroy the chances of shidduchim for his children, and cause a chilul Hashem. The point that could not let me sleep at night was that if I did not report this and he would then know he was being protected he would feel to harm other children and it would then be my fault!
    As the Rav had not forbidden me (and he himself refused to undertake any action except to talk to the man) I did go to the police. This involved an investigation of my daughter as well, which was done as discreetly as possible, but I don't need to explain how my guts were being torn out.
    The man was arrested, his marriage was destroyed and I certainly became the object of both castigation and praise. Realize as well that I was taking into my hands the decision that what had been done (or more correctly assumed had been done) to my daughter became public knowledge and might affect her shidduch as well.
    This is obviously a tremendous responsibility for any parent, but this is a small part of what parents of abuse children must face, and face it quickly, trying to assess what the future consequences might bein light of the censure you might face from social workers, police and any other legal authorities if you hide this illegal fact too long.
    Twenty years down the road I can tell you this is absolutely the right and moral thing to do: report the evildoer to the police. This man was given extensive psychological counseling (he was also a Holocaust survivor and could have been abused himself). He was able to come and live in our community again, and not only apologized to me but thanked me for saving his life and neshama from the evil compulsions that held him in sway. His children all married, and I am friends with his ex-wife as well (what torture she must have undergone all the years).
    Perhaps the most important issue I leave for last. My daughter as she grew up has always felt that even if there is evil in the world there will be people courageous enough to stand against it among them her mother and father. She says she has no scars and was able to establish a normal marriage because we stood up for her, and showed her that Torah values must be fought for.
    I must qualify that she was not hurt physically or beaten, but certainly, her trust in religious men with peyos and long white beards was challenged.
    I hope no one will ever have to face this but chazak chazak venitchazek!

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    • S

      Sinthia -7 years ago

      Thank you for being so brave. Sending you a giant hug for your hard and difficult decision. You absolutely made the right decision.

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    • Anonymous -3 years ago

      I wish someone had done that for me. 

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      • Anonymous -2 years ago

        Anonymous - I am so sorry.

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  • J

    judah -13 years ago

    relevant resources
    Rav Hershel Schachter: Should I Call the Police? Clarifying the Issurim of Mesira and Chilul Hashem - http://www.torahweb.org/aud...

    Rav Hershel Schachter: Regarding Mesirah - http://www.torahweb.org/tor...

    "Talking to Your Children About Intimacy: A Guide for Orthodox Jewish parents" - http://www.torahparenting.com/

    "...must reading for responsible Jewish parents."
    -Rav Dr. Abraham J. Twerski (you can read his complete haskama here: http://www.torahparenting.c... )

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  • A

    Avi -13 years ago

    false allegations
    I'm sorry to say that several people I know in the frum Jewish community have been falsely accused of being abusers. They had to suffer the stigma and pain of such a label until courts vindicated them. Such false allegations often come during divorce proceedings. I think we as a community need to be aware.

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  • MED

    maria e dara -13 years ago

    maria almeida macambira
    interesante conhecer mais sobre israel o povo de israel moro no brasil mas para o amor não tem distancia e agora com a net não tem mesmo

    nos que que estamos longe de jerusalem quando ouvimos ou ver algo assim ja é uma alegria

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  • C

    charles -13 years ago

    Thanks for opening up this wound in order to address it. Your gentle demeanour speaks for itself, but I agree with the poster above, tackling past abusers by encouraging reporting is also important.

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  • C

    chaim. -13 years ago

    Is there life after abuse?!
    I think Rabbi Drizin spoke well getting some important points home just it seems that he is only seeing things from one perspective forgeting that there may be victims and child abusers listening in aswell..using words like catastrophic to describe the victims future are not very reassuring to a already torn apart human bieng. as-swell as one learns with experience there is a healing process for the child abuser aswel..its not a simple topic and must be approached with caution and sensitivity.

    DR. shagalow who has dealt with many of these cases within our community and has the sensitivity and experience to make sure to take in to acount all listeners parent abusers and victim and guide them to healing.RABBI JACOBSON please listen to this show he did at the aliyah institute i am sure you will see the difference in approach.



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    • A

      Anonymous -13 years ago

      Re: Is there life after abuse?!
      Thank you for sharing. The more awareness and sensitivity the better.

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  • N

    Nechama -13 years ago

    child abuse
    There is a severe tension and dichotomy between what a common sense response for the victim should be(reporting it as a crime), versus that the Rabbis say that "one must speak to your Rabbi first"!?

    This creates confusion, a compromise of one's moral outlook, loss of respect for rabbinic authority, and compounded victim abuse. This last aspect is rampant in societies in our era: blame the victim instead of the perpetrator.

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  • F

    Fardryt -13 years ago

    Can you please talk about how to go about reporting someone that is a suspected molester (especially tough in our isolated communities)

    Thank you so much for making this world a safer place for my dear children...

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  • YP

    Yaakov Paley -13 years ago

    Main issue ignored
    Dear Rabbi Jacobson,

    Your efforts to combat the widespread infiltration of sexual abuse in our community is refreshing and brave, not in itself (because it is the natural thing to do and people should be screaming fire from the rooftops given the holocaust being perpetrated), but because almost everyone else has failed to address it.

    However, hearing the first of the series of lectures on this issue by Rabbi Drizin, I was infuriated to note the same mistake that everyone until now has made. I call it a mistake not to be judgmental, but in truth it is a completely unforgivable omission that has come to haunt the community time and again, completely undoing any efforts to combat this sickness.

    If you even briefly peruse the literature online or in print on the issue of child sexual abuse, you will notice immediately that the first step is always: how to identity symptoms of child sexual abuse. This step our community is finally waking up to - far too little and far too late, but better late than never.

    The very next step, however, is where our community, including the abovementioned video series, falls so very flat and short, that it is a veritable crime - ironically, the crime of aiding abuse in the name of treating it! Because those who are concerned about the issue and listen to these and similar series, think that they are receiving guidance from a professional in the field and are satisfied to follow what he says, not realizing that he, and all those before him in our community, are failing to guide the community towards the most crucial step in the war against sexual abuse among our children.

    What is that step?

    Reporting the perpetrator to the authorities, calling the abuse hotline, filing a police report, and ensuring full protection of the victim from the perpetrator.

    Prosecution is not the key here, but rather reporting the abuse to the authorities in order to protect both the past victims, allowing them to heal (for a victim cannot heal unless he or she knows that the perpetrator has been taken out of circulation and could not possibly cause further harm), and no less importantly, to protect future would-be victims from harm. No pedophile limits himself to a single victim - he cannot, given his extreme disease.

    Our community throws out lectures and gatherings, emphasizing how to detect, prevent, heal. Very nice, but simply no way near sufficient. To heal and to protect, the perpetrator must be brought to the attention of the authorities, and thereby to the community. Nothing less than that will work, and in fact, anything less than that will completely undermine all efforts to stem the tide of sexual attacks on our children. To fail to report abuse is a moral and legal crime. In all professional and government literature reporting abuse is a first, a must, and it a prosecutable crime to ignore! We must learn to report, for G-d's sake – report! Moreover, speed is of essence for the sake of proper investigation in many cases.

    Why is the key to our children's salvation constantly ignored?

    Maybe Rabbi Drizin planned to discuss this most essential step in one of his future series, but the fact that he failed to address it in the very first, when attention and curiosity is at its peak, is unforgivable.

    Lo ta'amod al dam re'echa. How much blood must be spilled before we get this right?

    Please refer to the Nubia Barahona case in February 2011, in Maimi Florida, where the reporting voice of a six year old girl helped in the discovery of the horrific abuse and murder of her ten year old aunt and the last minute rescue of her dying ten year old (a twin) uncle. Unfortunately, you are dreadfully mistaken if you assume that it could not happen behind the tall wooden mezuzahs and immaculate lawn of a respected Crown Heights home.

    Does the fear or guilt of reporting a fellow Jew, fellow Lubavitcher, perhaps even one's own father or brother, knowing that as a result the perpetrator may end up in jail and the family in disgrace, truly outweigh and justify completely destroying so very many lives of our fellow Jews - men, women and children?

    How about training our children, teens and adults, not to fear or hesitate to report sexual abuse immediately?

    Have you ever heard of an army that throws down its weapons and shields in the midst of an onslaught in order to bandage their wounded - and even then, failing to remove the wounded from the front lines? But that is what our community has done time and again. Instead of identifying a perpetrator as an enemy that must be prevented from causing further damage, we simply interest ourselves (and only of very late) in bandaging those wounded. Furthermore, by failing to remove the perpetrators, we have left our unbandaged or bandaged brethren still bleeding on the front lines, for they cannot heal without knowing that their attacker cannot cause further harm to themselves or others. Just seeing their perpetrator passing by in the street is enough to reverse years of therapy, how much more so when they are aware that their abuser has never been disclosed to the authorities / communities for what he truly is!

    Healing is simply step three, after first identifying and then immediately reporting to the proper authorities - and in most cases, following up with full protection, and gifting the community with awareness / protection from grievous harm.

    Reporting. That, and only that, may indeed end the catastrophe devastating the bodies and souls of so many in our community.

    The unbearable terror and threat from the perpetrator to his victims, both instinctive and maliciously instilled, is itself enough to silence the victims. On top of that, they are actively discouraged from reporting by the unfortunate notion that one is not permitted to report a fellow Jew. The sad result, in addition to intensifying the victim’s agony, suffering and damage, is the killing of a city of Jews in order to protect their attacker – a solitary criminal of the lowest order!

    In addition, and this is harder for the naive to grasp and therefore harder to combat, it is common for the victim to derive pleasure from sexual abuse (although at least subconsciously aware of the wrongness of the acts), and to therefore seek further abuse from their attacker. By the community fostering an atmosphere of secrecy and not reporting, they are actively encouraging and supporting the victim to keep and further their “secret.” Identifying symptoms and treating the wounds is necessary, but will never stop abuse. Reporting will.

    Rabbi Jacobson, any mandatory reporter who fails to report child sexual abuse when a child or teenager reports such, can be severely prosecuted when the truth eventually surfaces. By law, that includes parents, teachers, and caregivers of any type, and of course, therapists and medical professionals. How many in our community ignore this secular law - and G-d's law of Lo ta'amod quoted above?

    I have much more to say about this issue, but the time is not right. However, the above issue of reporting abuse is not only timely, but is urgently overdue.

    Once again, I commend you and thank you sincerely for daring to raise the issue of child sexual abuse in our community. As a wonderful and brave voice in our darkest time, please guide our community to take the step necessary for truly saving their children and thereby themselves.

    May G-d be with you and give you the strength to do this, for the sake of Jewish bodies and for the sake of Jewish souls.


    Yaakov Paley.

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    • L

      Logical -13 years ago

      Re: Main issue ignored
      Well if it would be your son what would be the MAIN issue?

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    • D

      db -13 years ago

      Re: Main issue ignored
      I cannot agree more - the greatest barrier to helping these children is the reluctance to report the perpetrator. The community consistently defends the perpetrator at the expense of the victims. Until this changes nothing will change.

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    • RTR

      Ready To Repair -3 years ago

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  • A

    Avraham -13 years ago

    Thank you
    Thank you for bringing this subject outside, as we are living in a difficult world.

    Could you please explain us how to deal with our children about this ? what to do in order to protect our children from this.

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  • T

    Tiffany -13 years ago

    child abuse
    I literally cried through the whole lesson. I hope to learn more about child abuse & recognizing the signs of it.

    Lets work on making the world a safer place for our children

    Thank you

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