David Cheifetz posted this Friday on Facebook.
Since I published my article two weeks ago on the swell of respected rabbis and other Modern Orthodox leaders who wrote letters of support for Evan Zauder, a convicted Orthodox pedophile, I have been alternately congratulated and condemned. People came up to me while I was doing Pesach shopping and offered me encouragement. I was given a Kibud in shul. But at the same time... I was told that I am "too close" to the issue and "making people uncomfortable". Someone even suggested that I not speak at an upcoming public event because I am "too outspoken".
There are very good people who become uncomfortable when the status quo is challenged. People do not like change, and get nervous with change, even when it is change for the better. But we cannot return to a time and a world where the Jewish Community fails to acknowledge sexual abuse or feel empathy for victims.
At least one in four women and one in six men have been sexually abused by the age 18; this is the rule of thumb in the general community, and is anecdotally higher in the Jewish community, especially among males in the Ultra Orthodox world.
Most victims go on with their lives. Some struggle their entire lives with various mental and physical health repercussions. Most choose to remain anonymous, as is their right.
I went public a year ago because I believe that victims need a face, and a voice. People need to know that most of us go on with our lives, lead productive lives, and live with our scars. People need to know that abuse is prevalent, and that the only way we can end this scourge is through concerted effort to support the victims of today and their families, educate the Community about the dangers and prevention, and treat the untreated - the "walking wounded" amongst us.
Ever since I went public as a victim, people come up to me, privately, and tell me their personal stories. Men, women, Jews, non-Jews. Most victims choose to remain anonymous, as is their right.
But I will not be silent, or silenced.