Posted by: Leah | December 11, 2011

Things We Keep Quiet About

When I was in my teens, I was deliciously pretty, but I was not naive. When a friend of the family told me how beautiful I was, how unhappy he was in his family, how much he loved me, tried to kiss me and invited me to visit him some time, I knew exactly how to reply. I suggested we go and talk to his wife who was just next door talking with my parents and invite her to join us as well.

Needless to say, that was the only advance he made, and I did not receive any more invitations from him. I was not emotionally hurt, maybe a bit disappointed in the mankind, but all these years I kept quiet about what happened. My parents don’t know about it up until this very moment, and I doubt I will tell them. After all,  a a grown-up now; no need to talk about the past.

Today, however, I read this article:

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/brooklyn-da-85-orthodox-sexual-abusers-arrested.html

This article is about investigation in a very Orthodox neighbourhood and finding 85 (!!!!) sexual predators there.

Think about it. 85! And how many of them go unreported because girls like me in that situation averted a crisis or just too ashamed to talk about it because a sexual predator might be a community leader, and after everything goes public this is their families and them, who will be talked about, which means no good match will be made.

When we think about pedophiles, we think about creepy guys offering candies to little girls or suggesting they go into their house to look at kittens. We do not think about family friends, religious leaders and teachers. We should.

My guess is that the situation that happened with me is more common than I even think. I would like to ask you to speak up if something happened in your past or if you suspect something.  In my Jewish education, I was taught we should not speak badly about our own in public. We should resolve this within community. This is wrong. If we keep quiet, we get a vicious circle going on for years, and hundreds of kids may get abused and molested. Lucklily for me, I was born cynic; not everybody is born this way.

Don’t keep quiet. Speak UP!

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