Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blaming the Victim

One of the biggest impediments to changing the dynamic with respect to the thuggish violence that happens so frequently in places like Meah Shearim is the apologetics by some for that beahvior.

I am speaking of basically good and decent people who would never dream of beating defenseless people of whom they disapprove - the way convicted Charedi thug Elhanan Buzaglo did.

Most human beings in the world from left to right abhor this kind of behavior under almost any circumstances. But there are a significant number of people who offer apologetics by blaming the victim. In response to an article on the subject two people commented in this way. Here are pertinent excerpts from them:

I'm very conflicted by this article. Not that I think such violence may be acceptable (but) - was she wearing a shaitel instead of a tichel? a tight skirt? flirting? or having an affair?)


Although I do not condone violence, I agree with (the above commenter) that many of the reported incidents are either exaggerated, fabricated, or were deliberate attempts at incitement that, unfortunately, achieved their aims. Such things are not uncommon here, whether the issue is tznius or Shabbos observance or grave desecration or any one of a host of issues.

The fact of the matter is that incidents of chareidi violence, even when they do occur, do not occur in a vaccuum. There seems to be an undercurrent of sentiment on this post and other forums that not only is the violence unexcusable - which it is - it is not even comprehensible, a feeling that "How could someone even be moved to violence in such a situation?" The truth is that many of us feel very passionately about the standards of tznius and the level of insulation of our communities. Do most of us resort to violence? Absolutely not. Are those who do ALL total crazies? Despite the fact that their actions are wrong, no, they are not.

Here is the correct response to them:

As you may know, I have done quite a bit of work with abuse victims. The mindset of your posts is exactly how some people respond to rape and wife beating

1) she was dressed in a way that provoked him to rape her

2) he is really a nice guy who only does this a tiny percent of the time

3) he beat her cause she got him so angry that he lost it.

I am not chas v’shalom suggesting that you 2 are like that --only that you have been conditioned to think this way.

"Miriam Shear started up with the kaniom by sitting in the front of the bus -- that's why they beat her"

Sound familiar????

I have privately said for years now -- this is the first time I am writing this in public -- that a high percentage of these violent criminals are child molestors, wife beaters and worse. This has nothing to do with religion. Nothing. They have an unhealthy obsession with women.

Mark my words. When the dust settles, you will be shocked to see how high the percentage is. I suspect each and every one of these thugs of the worst averos.

Thank you Rabbi Yakov Horowitz.