"Breaking The Silence"
Guest Writer: Dr Gerald Weinberger,MD,
Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem
It is rare that a victim of sexual abuse is given a hero’s welcome when seeking help concerning an abuser. All too often , rather than being comforted and recognized as courageous, the victim is turned a cold shoulder and treated as if he/she is the troublemaker, while the perpetrator, teacher, Rabbi, care-giver or family member, etc…. is protected by the small or larger community.
The community response is usually “ how can a man’s livelihood, reputation and family be defamed and undermined because of an aberrant sexual act” without a clue as to the life damage abuse causes.
Drs. Mandel and Pelcovitz, and the courageous and expert group of principled authors, who have contributed to “Breaking the Silence”, shine the light of Jewish Law (Halacha),and fearless integrity into the dark denial and confusion that cloud this area of life.
Drs. Mandel and Pelcovitz remind us what the Halachic priorities area concerning the issue of dealing with the issue of sexual abuse.
1. Victims are not the guilty party.
2. Victims deserve loving support and care and above all else protection from
from the abuser.
3. Predators/ abusers are the guilty parties, First and foremost they must be removed from their position of the power to abuse, should be stringently monitored, supervised and/or prosecuted.
Dr. Mandel and Pelcovitz have rendered an invaluable service to the Jewish community. The “halacha” is clear. Letting people know of abuse/abusers does not constitute “Lashon
Hara.”. Parents, teachers, children, adolescents and adults must be educated to
identify abusers, and to avoid the pitfalls of false mercy and sympathy that too often serve to perpetuate the heinous crime of sex abuse and its results.
The authors make it abundantly clear that Rabbis, community leaders…. and every one of us have an obligation to remain faithful to Halacha even if a “shul” member or someone in a position of power is the culprit. First and foremost the “Tzelem Elokim”of an individual must be protected. Our commitment to do what is just should not be confounded.
“ Breaking the Silence” is truly a vital publication and a “halachic” and social community resource. It should be read.; its appearance is a true “Kiddush Hashem”
“Breaking the Silence” is a breakthrough in the area of dealing with abuse in the Jewish community.
The book is available at:http://www.amazon.com/Breaking-Silence-Sexual-Jewish-Community/dp/1602801657
Dr. Gerald Weinberger