We are also sending a shameful and dangerous message when we sit by silently while friends and family members of the alleged perpetrators harass the victim’s family members for reporting the abuse to the authorities. That is why your notes of support for the victim’s family are so very important.
Sitting on the sidelines and not supporting victims of abuse is not really a neutral position, for your silence only emboldens the perpetrators.
In his remarks upon accepting the 1986 Nobel Peace Prize, Elie Wiesel eloquently stated: ” And that is why I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Each and every one of us has a sacred obligation to stand with the victims and with those who are oppressed. Again, we need to send a loud, clear and consistent message: Our children are not hefker.
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz is founder and dean of Yeshiva Darchei Noam and founder and director of Agudath Israel’s Project Y.E.S.