The individual who called was trying to convince me that by placing the names of alleged and convicted sex offenders on The Awareness Center would mean that the alleged and or convicted sex offender would not be able to earn parnassa (earn a living) for his or her family. The caller went on to say that the sex offender’s children would not be able to get into a good yeshiva (seminary) or find good marriage partners because of what was posted. The caller went on and on about the damage I was causing to the Jewish people.
Today’s caller could not seem to grasp the notion that according to statistics more than half of the known child molesters re-offend over a 25 year period. The caller was also unable to grasp the concept that on average one sex offender would molest over 117 times in their life time.
The man who called today also had a difficult time understanding the fact that the majority of cases of child molestation occurs in the home and not at schools, places of worship, camps, etc.
In the Jewish world the newspapers and orthodox rabbis seem to only focus on sex offenders who are rabbis, teachers and camp counselors; and have been neglecting the fact that the majority of sex offenders are called “mommy”, daddy”, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa and or cousin. The fact is that over 46% of the cases of sex crimes committed against children occur in the home.
Today’s caller was unaware that incest survivors have no place safe to go for help. It often does no good for them to tell a non-offending parent or other relative what’s going on. All too often most adults who are in the lives children who are being abused do not want to get involved, especially when it comes to making hot-line reports regarding their suspicion that children they know may be at risk of harm at home. Then there’s the whole issue that in many cases child protective services are inept in helping incest survivors because the juvenile justice and court systems always seems to focus on keeping families intact.
Another issue is that Jewish communities around the globe seem to be unaware that according to statistics female children are sexually victimized more often then males. In the orthodox world it is only cases which involve male victims that seem to be making it into the news.
We all need to be focusing our efforts on reaching out to the female Jewish survivors. We need to be doing what ever it takes to encourage them to to also come forward and share their stories. The shame always belongs on the perpetrator and not on those who have been sexually victimized.
The Awareness Center has also been receiving so many phone calls and e-mails from survivors begging us to reconsider and stay open.
For the last ten years I’ve been the dyslexic worker -- I’ve been paying to work. The Awareness Center has no funds to remain open. It’s gotten to the point that I’ve been trying to sell my own personal possessions to pay the organizations bills and to keep our phone lines and web page open. I’ll be honest with you, it pains me a great deal to know that we have no choice but to shut down in a little more then two weeks.
The reality is that we need to raise $2,500 just to pay off our bills. This does not include the personal loans I’ve made to the organization. We need to raise another $1,500 to consider staying open in the month of September.
I just don’t have it in me to keep things going without some sort of significant funding. If you really want the organization to stay open, each and everyone of you will help us find the funds to function. The Awareness Center is considered a non-profit organization with 501c3 statues. All donations are tax deductible.
Vicki Polin, MA, NCC, LCPC, ATR-BC
Founder and CEO