The Awareness Center closed. We operated from April 30, 1999 - April 30, 2014. This site is being provided for educational & historical purposes.
We were the international Jewish Coalition Against Sexual Abuse/Assault (JCASA); and were dedicated to ending sexual violence in Jewish communities globally. We did our best to operate as the make a wish foundation for Jewish survivors of sex crimes. In the past we offered a clearinghouse of information, resources, support and advocacy.
I have to admit that I am very frustrated and have been for some time. There's a huge population of children and adult survivors who are being ignored.
Why is it that the majority of those who call themselves "advocates" for Jewish survivors in the orthodox world ignore the fact that the majority of cases of child abuse occurs in the home.
46% of the cases of child sexual abuse involve the fact that the offenders are the victims mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents and cousins. Only a small fraction of cases happen in schools, camps, mikvah's and other locations. It's only 2% of all clergy that are sex offenders.
I totally understand that those who want to be called advocates have been using their own voices not only to help others, but also as a tool to help themselves in their own personal healing journey. This is a very important step to be able to do for some, yet not at the expense of others. Those who want to really advocate for others, NEED to be trained, especially the lay people who have no real experience in speaking out. Every community has a local rape crisis center, in which a 40 hour certification program is available. This should be a required program for individuals to go through prior to calling themselves an advocate for other survivors.
It is also very important for anyone who promotes themselves as a mental health professional to be licensed in the state they are working, and also have the educational background and specialized training in working with trauma survivors. You wouldn't go to an eye doctor for a heart problem -- why would you go to a therapist who doesn't have specific training in Trauma to help guide you through your healing journey?
The focus of the work in the orthodox world needs to be on ALL children and adult survivors, and not just those abused by clergy, in mikvahs, at schools or at camps.
Those who are or have been abused by relatives really need the most help. Think about it, they can't go to their parents for help, and it's nearly impossible to find orthodox rabbis, teachers, or camp counselors who will do the right thing. This population of survivors need your attention and need it today!