How YOU Can Help Break the Silence and Indifference

Over the past few years, I have written a number of posts about the subject of child sex abuse. Also, over the past few years, I have begun to see a slight uptick in the awareness of and publicity of this topic and have felt slightly encouraged.

Years ago, around 1999, the Chicago Jewish News ran a cover story about the subject of child sex abuse (if memory serves me right, it was entitled “The Shame of Silence”) and it was this article and subsequent cases that came to my attention that propelled me to speak out and write on the subject many times.

While there has been improvement, we still have a LONG way to go in EVERY sector until we can honestly say that this issue is being properly handled. Factors that contribute to the perpetuation of this abuse (besides the abusers themselves!) include: not wanting to spread Lashon Hara; indifference; not wanting to have the “scourge” of sex abuse associated with the family as it my lead to “shiduchim” problems; not believing a victim; not understanding the right steps to take; handing “it” over to the rabbis rather than the authorities (and in MANY cases) having offender’s activities swept under the rug.

Perhaps one of the BIGGEST impediments to education and to seeing that the right steps are taken when a victim tells his/her story is one word: SILENCE. Not saying anything; not reporting abuse; not giving the victim credence–all of these add up to further victimization of the child.

(Yes, I am well aware of the fact that there are false claims made and not everyone knows how to deal with this topic and that a person’s name can be ruined based on false allegations. That is exactly WHY more and more education is needed. What Lashon Hara is and what it is not. That is exactly why the subject of child sex abuse needs to be on the front burner so that it is dealt with properly and not left to fester and cause more harm due to silence and/or ignorance.)

Finally, right here in Israel, you will have an opportunity to become more educated about the subject of child sexual abuse. Additionally, victims, who have remained silent, will also be given a sense of “chizuk” by survivors speaking out about their story. In short, this is a chance to be a part of changing this plague.

To quote organizers of an upcoming gathering/meeting/event:

Help Jewish Community Watch lift the shame and secrecy that surrounds child sexual abuse in our communities by joining us for a powerful night of awareness, education and healing.

Whether you’re a survivor yourself, have a loved one who is a survivor, or just want to support survivors and protect children, this is an event you don’t want to miss! When our community joins together to confront this issue and support survivors, we have to power to help them heal while spreading awareness to prevent more of Hashem’s children from being sexually abused.”

DETAILS OF EVENT: On Monday,  April 27, 2015 at 19:00 at Yeshurun in Jerusalem (44 King George)

The event can be seen here: I want to urge all who read this post to take the time to come to this event and become a link in the chain of prevention and awareness. Remember that someone who saves even ONE life is as if he has saved an entire world. Please come to help save lives.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.