Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dear Tatty - By Naomi

Dear Tatty,
I am so sad to find out that there are many (at least six now) young men who have accused you of molesting them as boys. To think that as a child I was jealous of "your boys" when you stopped abusing me and turned your 'love' and attentions onto them. You brought them presents, took them on overnight trips...They will not come forward yet because they are still victimized and intimidated by the image you hold in your community. You are so "well connected," so good at playing the holy, trustworthy man. You have all of these big rabbonim who are protecting you in order to uphold the image of themselves and their community... But the truth will come out soon enough. Hashem does not like lies.

Some part of me feels relief and validation knowing that I can trust my memories and experiences. But mostly I am just sad and confused to hear of all of your victims. You are my father and I needed you. I wanted to hold on to my image of you that I had as a child, that I needed to have...A good, loving, strong father. A wonderful educator, a popular friend to many diverse people. A respected man. I wanted to be close to you and feel safe at the same time. I never did. I wanted you to see me and love me... but you only saw yourself...I wanted, and still want a father. Why did you rape me? Why did Hashem let you do these things? Why don't you get yourself help? How can you be so good and so bad at the same time? Tatty, you destroyed my love of yidishkeit. You, together with your rabbonim who protect you have destroyed my faith in the God of the Torah. This is what people like you and your rabbonim are doing to Am Yisroel. You and your frum rabbi's are destroying yidishkeit from the inside out. All these frum children I speak with on drugs...going off the derech...so many of them admitting to being abused within the community by rabbonim, teachers, community leaders, parents.

A few weeks ago I attended a women's gathering on shabbos. The principal of a girl's school spoke. She talked about how we have to watch with vigilance that even "the dust particles of the outside world" should not enter our homes and contaminate our families. Her message is one I grew up with, that as long as we keep the secular world at bay we will be a safe and pure and holy people. This is so naive. The pull of the "outside world" on our children is a symptom of our own inner dust. The inner dust of child abuse and neglect that we try to deny. As a community we need to come out of the closet and face our inner dust. Let us deal with who we are, and what we have within our community. What we allow in our community. Let's stop playing the dangerous game of making the yetser harah something easy to control because it is"out there," and separate from us...It's all the goyims fault right? Wrong. It's the frum abusers fault and the community that allows him to abuse.. It's you tatty, and it makes me cry.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Quotes For Today!

Stop aspiring to be anyone other than your own best self.

Listening will bring harmony to your family.

Your home should not feel like a birdcage and you like a bird.

A bully is always a coward.

Turn your dreams into reality.

In difficult moments, visualize a favorite place.

Do not let people bring you down to their level.

Think for yourself and let others enjoy the right to do the same thing.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

200 Rabbis Supporting the Efforts of The Awareness Center, Inc.

Just in from Vicki Polin at The Awareness Center:

200 Rabbis Supporting the Efforts of The Awareness Center, Inc.

The Awareness Center, Inc. now has 200 rabbis on their list of:
Rabbis who Publicly Support the Efforts of The Awareness Center - To End Sexual Violence in Jewish Communities Around The World

Dental Phobia in Survivors of Sexual, Emotional, or Physical Abuse

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Convicted abusers just tip of the iceberg - By Vicki Polin

Letter to the Editor
Convicted abusers just tip of the iceberg

Baltimore Sun - August 28, 2005

It's important for there to be stricter laws regulating convicted sex offenders. But the proposed laws are only a Band-Aid to a much larger problem ("Governor promotes sex-crime measures," Aug. 21).

These proposed laws pertain only to convicted sex offenders. And it's important for residents of Maryland to be aware of the fact that the majority of sex offenders have not been convicted of their crimes.

As we all know, childhood sexual abuse and rape of adults are often crimes of secrecy and silence. The problem is compounded by the fact that only 32 percent of sexual assaults against people 12 or older are reported to law enforcement.

According to another study, 84 percent of respondents who identified themselves as rape victims did not report the crime to authorities.

And according to the U.S. Department of Justice, the majority of survivors of sexual violence are afraid to report sexual assault to the police.

Reasons include fears that reporting could lead to further victimization by the offender; fears of other forms of retribution by the offender or by his or her friends or family; concerns about the arrest, prosecution and incarceration of an offender who may be a family member or friend and on whom the victim or others may depend; concerns about others finding out about the sexual assault or about not being believed; and concerns about being traumatized by the response of the criminal justice system.

Vicki Polin

The writer is executive director of
The Awareness Center Inc., the Jewish coalition against sexual abuse and assault.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Fliers vow aid for alleged abuse victims

This note comes from Vicki Polin:
Is this something Jewish survivors (and those who care about them) should be doing at the synagogues, camps, schools and yeshivas that they were abused at? Please feel free to contact
Vicki Polin if you would be interested in discussing this idea, and several others.


Fliers vow aid for alleged abuse victims
By Annette Espinoza
Denver Post - August 26, 2005

The founder of an abuse-survivors organization passed out leaflets Thursday near a church where a former priest accused of molesting boys once worked.

Barbara Blaine of Chicago, founder and president of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests went door-to-door in the Denver neighborhood surrounding Good Shepherd Catholic Church. She was accompanied by a man who requested anonymity and said he had been molested by Harold Robert White.

"Help us reach out to anyone abused by Father (Harold) Robert White," the fliers said. "Please do your Christian and your civic duty!"

"That's what SNAP does," said Fran Maier, chancellor of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Denver. "That's not a surprise. We wouldn't have a comment on it."

Five men have filed lawsuits alleging that the archdiocese covered up for White despite being warned that he had been accused of molesting boys. Sixteen men have told The Denver Post that White molested them, and a John Doe named in one of the lawsuits brings the number of White accusers to 17.

No allegations involving a parishioner have been made against White during his time at Good Shepherd, from 1981 to 1983.

Most people living in the neighborhood weren't home, but those who opened their doors were sympathetic.

"It's terrible. If you can't trust your priest, who can you trust?" said Rose Anokye.

Staff writer Annette Espinoza can be reached at 303-820-1655 or aespinoza@denverpost.com

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The Awareness Center, Inc.

I just received the following email from The Awareness Center. I think everyone should send donations to this fantastic organization

Great News!
All donations made to The Awareness Center, Inc. have been determined to be tax exempt by the IRS. We have recieved our 501c3 status. The Effective date of Exemption is October 6, 2003.

Be A Part Of The Solution . . .

If you have found The Awareness Center's web page or any of The Awareness Center's services helpful, why not become one of their financial sponsors. All donations are tax deductible.

The Awareness Center, Inc.
(the Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault)
P.O. Box 65273
Baltimore, MD 21209

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Offenders: Problems Our Parents Wouldn't Speak Of

  • 61% of sexual assaults are not reported to the police.

  • 84% of all rapes in the United States are Date (Acquaintance) Rapes

  • A woman is 5 times more likely to be raped by someone she knows.

  • 57% of all sexual assaults take place on dates or in the context of relationships

  • If the rape is reported to police, there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.

  • If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.

  • If there is a prosecution, there is a 58% chance of a felony conviction.

  • If there is a felony conviction, there is a 69% chance the convict will spend time in jail.

  • So, even in the 39% of attacks that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison.

  • Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists—1 out of 16— will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free. According to the US Department of Justice.

[Probability statistics compiled by NCPA form US Department of Justice statistics. See www.ncpa.org/studies/s229/s229.html]

If you are a sex offender seeking help, contact one of the following organizations. I'm sure they can refer you to a qualified psychotherapist.
  1. Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers.
  2. Center for Sex Offender Management
  3. National Adolescent Perpetration Network (NAPN)
  4. National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth
  5. The Safer Society Foundation, Inc.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Thoughts For Today

Being too sane is worse than being a little crazy

Experiencing things make them real.

When a child speaks, really listen.

What we think is who we are.

An opportunity is hidden in every adversity.

Gaining someone's trust is an awesome feeling.

Let people know what you stand for and what you will not stand for.

Be willing to shed a parts of your previous life.

Love should be guilt-free.

Forever is a long time.

Your imagination needs exercise and nourishment.

Do not be afraid of opposition.

Tackle fears one at a time.

Never take advice from someone who is in worse shape than you are.

You always help yourself by helping others.

Not every cloud is a sign of a storm.

Question everything.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Tanya's Letter

The following letter was sent to me from "Tanya."

The first letter she wrote to a rabbi. The second is the response she received back.

Tanya said after receiving the letter from the rabbi she felt so turned off that she quit looking into Judaism. A few months ago she married someone who is not Jewish, and is feeling confused. She asked me to share both letters with you for feedback. I will forward all response to her.

Dear Rabbi (name withheld),

I am writing you this letter since I've heard that you are a Torah Scholar.

I have been on a spiritual quest for many years, but there is something that keeps getting in my way of connecting. It is the fact that I am an incest survivor.

It seems that every time I feel comfortable enough with a rabbi and disclose my childhood to them, they run the other way. I know I'm not the only Jewish survivor who has had this experience. There has to be a place somewhere that will accept Jewish incest survivors, and help them understand the concept of God.

I am Jewish, yet grew up with nothing. I tried many times trying to connect with Judaism, but I feel nothing. I read a lot of books, gone to seminars and classes. I still feel no connection. Maybe I'm too angry to be open to the philosophy behind Judaism? The thing is that I don't feel angry.

You have to understand something. When you are a survivor of childhood abuse, actions speak so much louder then words. When your father tells you he loves you, and then rapes you, what meaning does a word have?

Over the last several years I've been in therapy and have done so much healing. When it comes to anything Jewishly I'm at a loss. It's strange to say that my spiritual identity comes form the women's movement and "pop psychology."

When I go to workshops on Judaism in an orthodox setting, I feel that the things that are important to me are bashed by rabbis. I've come to a point that I'm ready to just give up on my Jewish identity. It has brought me nothing but pain. The only time in my life I ever felt a connection to anything spiritual was while I was on a vacation with friends and spent a few hours at the Kotel.

If my problem has to do with my anger, what am I supposed to do? If your parents are supposed to be your model of who God is, I can't have anything to do with it. How can someone worship a deity, who is perceived as being evil? I've asked many rabbis to explain this to me, and everyone tells me I have to talk to a Torah scholar, yet no one knows of one who can answer my questions. I thought perhaps someone at ________ can explain this to me.



Dear Tanya,
I feel for your pain very much, and deeply admire your persistence and honesty in your spiritual quest. I hesitate to try and respond to you in writing as the written word can be very cold. But they are being written with much warmth and concern.

You are 100% right on. You say that you're problem has to do with your anger. (amongst many more emotions I can imagine). That's it. You have to let go! Holocaust survivors have to let go, I know you can do it too. If you ease your anger you will be able to see that words do mean everything. Because your father said I love you and did terrible things to you does not take away from the meaning of the word love. I am sure that you love someone. I am sure that you know people, even men who love their children. Love means love.

Granted you don't have a personal model of a loving father, but if you visit enough Jewish homes you will find dozens of role models of a loving father. It won't compensate you for your lack of a loving father, but it will enable you to live with a concept of a loving Gd. A loving Gd is exactly that, consistently loving with no limits and all powerful.

It is a terrible thing that when you get comfortable with a Rabbi and you confide in him he runs away. I assure that I won't run. But may I suggest that you try a woman teacher. They are more likely to be able to take your deep emotions and anger.

I have thank Gd ___ grown children, __ girls and __ boys. My daughters are as precious to me, maybe more so than my boys. I assure that our Gd loves his daughters as much as his sons, and Judaism has everything that you are looking for. Keep looking and you will be helped to find it by your loving Gd.

Please feel free to be in touch.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

A friendly state for sex offenders? - By Vicki Polin

Letters to the Editor
A friendly state for sex offenders?
Baltimore Sun - August 4, 2005

As I was reading "Registry for sex offenders has gaps" (July 28), I couldn't help but ask myself if Maryland is a "sex offender-friendly" state?

It's really pretty scary to think that out of the 4,300 registered sexual offenders in the state database, 3,000 are no longer supervised.

I believe that sex offenders need to be monitored for life.

According to a 1997 study, the recidivism rate for child sex offenders over a 25-year period is 52 percent. Given such statistics, how can it be that Maryland only requires sex offenders to be on the state registry for 10 years?

I agree with Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. that we need specialized training for parole officers who work with sex offenders and better treatment for sex offenders while they are incarcerated.

The problem is that as of today there is no known treatment for sex offenders that is really effective. Research in treating offenders is still very much in its infancy.

I believe it is imperative that parole officers visit offenders in their homes at least once every six months, as a way to verify the offender's residence. I also believe that a sex offender should automatically be placed on a registry and that this should not be left up to a judge.

Let's remember that the goal is to protect unsuspecting individuals (adults and children) from becoming the next victim of sexual violence.

Vicki Polin
The writer is executive director of The Awareness Center Inc., a Jewish coalition against sexual abuse and assault.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Thoughts For Today

If you kick a stone in anger, you'll hurt your foot.

Tomorrow is not meant to be known today.

Each life is relevant.

A good cry can be enjoyable.

We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from it.

The wallet with lots of pictures in it is more valuable than the one with lots of money in it.

Don't waste time looking at the hill -- climb it.

Heroes are made, not born.

Even the richest and most powerful people eventually die.

Love can make the wisest look foolish.

You are a part of a big world and an even bigger universe.

Remind friends of their own worth.

A drop of ink may make a million think.