2 days ago
Friday, September 05, 2008
Another child abuse allegation surfaced within the community, this time spilling out beyond the narrow confinements of the Shtetl and into the secular newspapers. It isn’t the first time, after the Catholic clergy’s guarded muck became public it was only a matter of time before our distressed young found the courage to come forward. Many did. Though the latest story involves a Chasidic teacher, a rebbe in our own schools. As usual, the many friends of the alleged perpetrator vouch venomously for his innocence. They may be right, and hopefully the court will be able to sort that out. However, what many people miss in child molestation cases is that most of the time the perpetrator will have a kind and loving persona, the type that kids gravitate to. Kids run from boogiemen and nervous preachers, they like the candy-giving smile-sharing caring type, confusing them with real love, with real care. Sexual mistreatment is prevalent in out community. Only the apologetic, the one who when biased enough can deny the existence of pre-historic artifacts, can claim otherwise. If the numbers are comparable to the outside, more than, less than, is undebatable, for no one can keep records on hidden facts; what is arguable is why? Why can a community so puritanical in theory spawn such frivolous behavior? I think the answers are many pronged, I have thought about it often, either when thinking about my own kids or every so often when it pains me to see friends dabbling with sad affairs and blaming it on childhood abuse. (It is even sadder that their blame is real, for how an incident shapes the mind of a youngster the grown ups are live testimony.) The fact that our kids have zero sexual knowledge and have no biology education contributes a lot. I wonder if there is another culture in the world that feels the need to teach their children on the day they get married what they are supposed to do at night. Granted, for many it won’t be shocking, but I can assure you that the number of boys that are stunned enough to faint or react badly is larger than one might expect for such an instinctive behavior. Can you fault the rabbis? Just the other day I spoke with someone outside of our circle who repeated what she heard, presumably from a victim, that blamed the hypocritical Orthodox authorities who look away at the horrible molestation that happens in our midst. I can hardly blame someone who felt the pain first hand who feels like that, and since hypocrisy is a feeling, a perception of sorts, I can have no say perhaps, but I still believe, in general, that those detesting the rabbinical authorities are those who chose to believe in them at the first place. They are human beings, just like you and me. In fact, their gravitation to power is quite the indication of their imperfection to begin with. In reality, such an incident, when proven, is extremely shameful for the perpetrator, to such an extent that the kids marriageable prospects are shattered, the worst punishment in our society. Perhaps because of this there is an immense pressure to silence such allegations and are dealt with internally—in an exceptionally unsuccessful manner. What happens is that these monsters, after being warned, try it again, this time being more conniving. The result is rarely a happy ending, more accurately the kids grow up and then deal with the Vaa’ds and the Mishmeress and the rest of them, whose obsession with sex might very well be a result of molestation too. Go figure. Some kids, those blessed with strength or short memories, or whatever it is that makes them not act out, can hide their torturous thoughts indefinitely. Those who don’t, suffer from anxiety, depression, and a host of other ills that some non-thinking nitwits within the community take as a sign of the bearers irritable lies. That is what causes the abuser to feel safe amongst us, and that I hope, for our sake alone, will be eradicated. I want to see a Kolko, or a Monderowitz in jail. I want to see them suffer and deter future abusers from tampering with our precious kids.
Posted by Shtreimel at 12:04 AM