Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

Many therapies can help victims of sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is such a terrible crime. The thing meant to connect people (sexuality) is used to hurt people. Rightly so the slogan: sexual abuse is abuse, not sex. Minimizing sexual abuse is abusing a victim all over again.

It is understandable and a good thing that people (and prosecutors in particular) stress that sexual violators darken the lives of their victims. The violation is grisly and nothing should diminish the painful results.

Having been victimized often means a trauma too heavy to carry. Often, the victim spends years in denial, self-blame, and despair before they seek help—if at all. Most victims until now have taken their dark secrets into their graves. Basic trust and relationships (life itself) shattered, putting good people who could have helped out of reach. Doors to all kinds of addictions and self-harm opened, only to forget and not feel the pain.

But. The above is used to prosecute and not let the perpetrators get away. But that narrative can backfire. What does such an analysis do to victims? Yes, it takes them seriously. That’s good. But it also fortifies hopelessness and defeatism. Victims of sexual abuse got severely hurt, but they are not ‘damaged goods.’ They are still the wonderful people that they were before the assault. There is hope for (slow) healing over (much) time.

The life of the victims is more important than that of the perpetrators. Surely, lawyers to defend the latter will try to abuse that line, but it’s still true. More than focusing on the punishment or neutralizing of the villain, we need to concentrate on the fate of the innocent who were violated.

We need to stop saying that sexual abuse hurts someone for life. That is too bleak. That is only true without prolonged and deep therapy. Judges won’t abuse hope for victims to be lenient on the violators. The opposite. They should make them pay for therapy. Lots of therapy. Years of therapy.

Talk therapy is not a solution for all people of all ages. Art therapy might be better. Or a support group. Yoga. The AA or another detox program. Relationship, family, phobia, assertiveness therapy. Dating coaching.

NB: Many serial perpetrators select vulnerable people. Who’s going to believe a ‘mental case’ over ‘mister perfect’? Or someone poor, from a vulnerable minority group, outcasts, etc. Such victims get more hurt than victims ‘in top shape.’ So, therapy first needs to bring victims in a good enough state to address recovering from the assault. Years. Decades.

Hope for victims of sexual abuse should not work out nicely for offenders. It should be used to make them pay for many years of therapy per victim.

Meanwhile, a serious problem is that most cases never go to trial.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. He doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 1400 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe, here: https://mmvanzuiden.wordpress.com/ or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (https://diethylstilbestrol.co.uk/studies/des-and-psychological-health/), born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me.
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