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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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The Conundrum of Dealing with Sexual Abuse

There has been much reluctance by rabbinic groups such as Agudah to be more forceful in their approach to abusers. They find the allegations hard to believe.

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Sexual Abuse



Abusers are often charismatic people who come off as sincere to their victims. And once they have built their reputations they are beyond reproach in their community. All who have come in contact with them will swear by their innocence. Except of course the victims. Who are seen as liars with agendas.

I think this explains why there has been such reluctance by rabbinic groups such as Agudah to be more forceful in their approach to abusers. They find it hard to believe. And if you combine that with the presumption of innocence about the accused, they are not about to let an accusation go forward without their examining it first. They suspect that an innocent and good man was wrongly accused and they want to protect him. It is a no-brainer for them. And no doubt that bias influences their decisions about whether to go forward with the police. It is simple human nature to see people with good reputations as being wrongly accused.

And that’s why this problem is so difficult to solve.

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Harry Maryles

About the Author: Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

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Binyamin and Chaya Maryles, uncle and aunt of Emes Ve-Emunah author Harry Maryles.
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