Monday, April 14, 2008

Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case

Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case 
By Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC, ATR-BC
The Awareness Center's Daily News Letter - April 14, 2008
Rabbi Levi Brackman

It was embarrassing to read Rabbi Levi Brackman article that appeared in YNET news (Israeli paper), "Don't Politicize Child Abuse Case", in which he speaks out about alleged cult leader, Rabbi Elior Chen.

When reading the article it is extremely obvious Rabbi Brackman lacks the needed education, knowledge and understanding on the issues of child abuse and neglect. In the credits at the bottom of his article it states that Rabbi Brackman's experience is in the business world and does not state his expertise in the issue he is speaking out upon. I was embarrassed for him that a newspaper such as YNET would allow Rabbi Brackman to promote his ignorance on such an important topic.

Rabbi Brackman must be in a state of denial when making blanket statement that "violence is less common in the haredi society." Statistics of abuse are the same in all societies, haredi (ultra religious) or not. The only difference is that the rabbis in the haredi communities do their best to cover up the reality of what is actually happening. Over the years I've seen over and over again, they do their best shame and blame victims into silence, and promote those who offend. This practice is not just limited to the haredi community, it's also happened with in the Catholic church.

The haredi community has a tendency to say if someone in their community is abusing a children (or a spouse), then that person is really not haredi -- that they are just pretending to be haredi. Yet these same individuals daven (pray) in their synagogues, keep kosher and shabbat. They even are allowed to work and spend all their time in the haredi world.

Statistics will show that one out of every four adults were sexually abused before they reach the age of eighteen. The statistics of physical and emotional abuse is much higher. Until proven differently, we have to believe the same is true in all communities, including the community that Rabbi Levi Brackman resides.

The only way things will ever change, and the world will be safe for our children is by speaking out publicly and by the news media publishing the stories of those who have been abused and the way our society (including the haredi world) deal with such cases. Unfortunately, Rabbi Brackman wants the tradition of silence to continue, which in the past lead to more children becoming victimized.

I think the most important thing to remember is that Rabbi Levi Brackman does not have the expertise in the field of child abuse to be making a public statement on such an important issue. Perhaps the best thing we can do to help Rabbi Brackman, is by everyone sending him articles and books on the topic of child abuse and neglect. Perhaps that will inspire him to research a topic thoroughly prior to embarrassing himself again in such a public venue.

Contact Information:

Rabbi Levi Brackman

3959 Ponderosa Lane

Evergreen, Colorado 80439

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