Kol HaKavod! Time to unsweep child abuse from under the carpet…
Comment by Miriam Goodman — February 18, 2014 @ 4:09 PM
It is clear that the frequency of child sexual abuse is higher in segments of the haredi community than in segments of the non-haredi Jewish community, the appropriate comparison group. The question is why – what haredi cultural norms cause this, and how can be changed? Until this issue is addressed with the haredi community by the haredi rabbinical leadership, the situation will not improve. Protecting haredi cultural norms are more important than protecting haredi children. I don't know how these people can atone for their sins during Yom Kippur.
Comment by Stan Silverman — February 18, 2014 @ 4:20 PM
Parent A states that they assumed the perpetrator was 'some off the derech kid'. Sexual abuse has nothing to do with one's religious level and pointing fingers at those who have chosen a different way of life is disgusting and misguided.
Comment by Shay Dorfman — February 18, 2014 @ 5:29 PM
Excellent to see Magen getting international coverage. All parents must be aware of what can happen and make sure to speak to their kids!
Comment by Shoshanna Keats-Jaskoll — February 18, 2014 @ 8:17 PM
Yasher Koach that Israel has the Magen organization. It has clearly stepped in where others wouldn't. It is horrifying that the maltreatment of children is so rampant in the world. It is destructive to the soul of the victim and to the victims family, when many in the insular (and non-insular!) communities automatically support the "G-d fearing, chessed filled, learned, kind, good, family oriented, upstanding"….ABUSER! As they disregard and do not support the lost and confused victim. Some victims become perfect students, children, etc., while others make poor choices. Regardless, they are demeaned, concretizing the guilt they feel within themselves. Whether abuse is reported immediately or later on in life as an adult; due to suppressed memories, the child and/or adult MUST be validated, and not hushed or ignored. When family members support the victim, it is a step towards healing. However, if chas v'shalom family members take the side of the abuser the victim will feel completely alone and lost. A frum victim abused by a relative, a rabbi (the person who the child was taught to respect), very often times, the victim will go off the Derech, turn to drugs to numb the inconsolable pain and turmoil, and might unfortunately reach the point of nowhere to turn, feeling so hopeless and helpless and will commit suicide. Re-victimization that victims say can be more painful than the abuse itself. The abuser is raised to heights of greatness creates while creating a dimension of pain and suffering to the victim like none other – the salt is dumped even further into the opened wounds. All four fronts that Magen works on are fabulous. I'm wondering if Magen includes safety education to the children in addition to child educators and parents. Magen provides education to “professional or volunteer representatives are out in the community offering lectures and seminars to help parents and child educators understand the threat of sexual predators and how to protect their children against them”. Adding safety education to the children is crucial and key to prevention. Magenu.org is a Torah based grass-roots organization that started in Brooklyn, NY, does just that. Yeshiva’s, day schools and Bais Yaakov schools bring magenu.org into their schools. Magenu professionals educate the administrators and all staff members on child abuse and safety education. Second, they teach the parents, who are often shocked to learn that it's no longer "stranger danger" – but rather, the abuser is a trusted adult, one even living in their home. Finally, magenu educates the children on general safety and a high concentration to teaching the students (in a child centered and modest way) child safety education. Studies have shown that when the CHILD in particular is taught that it's ok to say "NO!" even to a respectable frum person, 95% of child abuse can be prevented! Magenu.org teaches to the child because some parents are uncomfortable teaching the topic of child abuse to their own children. In addition, unfortunately, the abuse is often happening by a member of the household, by the person who is trusted to teach the child. In addition, the child feels empowered knowing that HaShem, who gave him/her their body, agrees! HaShem wants the children to know that "their body is their own"! Thank you Magen in Israel and Magenu in America!