Wednesday, December 15, 2010
There has been some speculation about the veracity of the story told in the book ‘Hush’. The claim is that since it was written anonymously – it simply cannot be trusted as true. This is unfortunately what denial is all about.
Why is there so much denial?
Sex abuse of minors is such a horrible thought – especially in a community where sex is barely mentioned in any context - that it simply cannot be believed. And if the accused is a respected member of the community, the victims are themselves seen as abusers because they are besmirching the reputation of the most upstanding people in their community.
In the story told in ‘Hush’ the victim was abused by one such individual. The very kind of person who feigns being repulsed by ‘Goyishe’ culture because it is so heavily laden with sexual content ...the kind of content that this community goes to great lengths to hide from their children.
The victim of - or witness to - abuse who makes these accusations is harangued, shunned – even ostracized – as is the rest of their family. They are in fact being ‘raped’ all over again. Only this time it is by the very people who they are supposed to look up to… people who are supposed to protect them. Rabbis, Rebbeim, Moros, teachers, principals, Mashgichim, Roshei Yeshiva... all seem to be conspiring against the victim. Even parents might unwittingly contribute to the victim-hood of the abused by insisting that the victim be silent. All people with good intentions believing they are protecting good people and their families from scurrilous lies!
So is the story told in ‘Hush’ fact or fiction? It is my firm belief that all the basic elements of that story are fact. But if one needs more proof that victims suffer as much – or even more - post abuse than they may have from the abuse itself - here is a victim’s story.
It is the story of Pinny Taub. He is a Chasid from Williamsburg - the center of Satmar Chasidus in New York (and probably the world). He told his story at the JBAC sponsored event in Chicago last October on sex abuse. It is divided into two segments, the one above and the one below. It is well every minute of your time.
If this does not move you, you aren’t human. If this doesn’t convince you that we need to be far more vigilant that we currently are than nothing will. To turn a popular phrase: One video (in this case 2 videos) is worth a thousand words.