The Epidemic

It started slowly, like most epidemics do.  Some icons were tumbled and dragged through the mud on TV and the internet.

Everybody’s TV dad, Bill Cosby, was shamed and humiliated.  He had it coming.

Then a guy named Harvey Weinstein seemed like he couldn’t keep his paws off of women, especially young and attractive women.  Weinstein, to his credit, (at least something to his credit) hasn’t clearly said he wasn’t molesting women. He said he needs therapy.

Accusations were made against Donald Trump a while back.  Those accusations just went nowhere.  The women were never believed despite Trump’s recorded comments about walking into dressing rooms of naked teenage girls and grabbing whatever he chose.  Even today, with the upsurge of the “me too” movement, Trump remains draped in Teflon with all charges against him ignored.

Now the world is awash in charges, against ancients and revered.

Ironically, today, our synagogue in Herzliya invited us to an evening at our new rabbi’s home to celebrate the birthday of the late Shlomo Carlebach.  Rav Shlomo has been many times accused of sexual abuse.  What’s should be  the position of his doubters ?  Should they support the event which will ring joyous with Carlebach’s amazing music , music which has brought new life to many a synagogue service.  Who can imagine a Jewish wedding without Carlebach’s exuberant and melodic fervor?  He was a giant.  Was he a sexual abuser?  Some say yes.  Me, I don’t know.

The charges are now coming fast and furious.  Some of them seem ridiculous.  A wheelchair bound President George Bush, a man over 90 and seemingly somewhat senile, publicly grabbing someone’s tush. Is that sexual abuse or a lie or a case of dementia?

Time was when the accused had the safety of an attack without a witness.

Not today.  Elie Wiesel, no less, is accused of a tush grab in public.  Just like George Bush.

Something is really wrong here.  We don’t know whom to believe.  If a woman is willing to identify herself is that proof positive that Elie Wiesel actually grabbed her.  It seems so out of touch (pardon the pun).  What gratification would an old man get from fondling the bottom of a young woman?  I don’t know.  Maybe you have to be there but it sounds so absurd that a man would risk his reputation for a quick and public pass at a woman.  Is her ass so unique, so sexy that men just can’t control themselves?  That in front of other people the man,
Wiesel or Bush, just couldn’t NOT fondle the subject’s behind.

We’re on one of our media news cycles.  Women can make charges against anyone they choose. No proof needed.  Instead of the old days when women were never believed, now they’re always believed, as long as they identify themselves.

That doesn’t sound very compelling to me.  Is it not possible that women might be looking for publicity wherever it comes from?

Now I’m a woman.  Neither George Bush nor Elie Wiesel nor any other famous person has ever tried to fondle me.  But, if right now, at this very moment, I reported that they had, would you believe me?  I think you would.  After all, I’m an old woman (and everyone knows old people don’t lie) and why would I lie anyway.

So this is the conundrum we find ourselves in.  Men’s reputations can be destroyed in an instant (except for teflon Donald Trump!).

It’s quite possible, but not quite probable, that these molestations took place but I think, in such cases, they’d hardly fit the description of attempted rape or other serious legal violations.

So where do we go from here?

Yes, we definitely want to know if there’s a sexual predator in our neighborhood.

Yes we definitely want to know if a school official, scout leader, gym teacher, coach, or anyone else involved in a trusting relationship with our children, is abusing them.  Emphatically.  No coverups.  Ever.

But these snipes really need substantiation.  It’s painful for me to witness the destruction of a guy like Elie Wiesel who’s in no position to defend himself. The potential fantasies of one woman vs the revered persona of Elie Wiesel?  Help me out here.

About the Author
Rosanne Skopp is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of fourteen, and great-grandmother of three. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and travels back and forth between homes in New Jersey and Israel. She is currently writing a family history.