|David Pelcovitz and David Mandel|
At that time The Awareness Center had already been questioning their non-compliance to follow the New York State law, that required them to make hot-line reports when they SUSPECTED a child was at risk of harm or neglect. Their response was to incinuate that our organization was anti-orthodox and eluded that Vicki Polin, who is the founder and CEO of our organization was crazy. The goal was to attempt to distract the orthodox community from being enlightened of reality. Their motto always appeared to be "divide and conquer" any group of people who were shining a light on truth.
Ohel: What do we say to our children who are molested?
(2003) David Mandel Chief Executive Officer OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services and David Pelcovitz, Ph.D. Chief of Child and Adolescent Psychology North Shore University Hospital
Ability to trust others: Children abused by a trusted adult may have difficulty allowing themselves to get close to members of the extended family or adults they come in contact with in school or shul. Young children may become more clingy and older children may develop a hostile or mistrustful attitude in relating to others.
Impaired self-concept: Abused children may develop a sense of permanent damage, which may include feelings of shame, self-blame, and a general sense that they are unworthy of love. Some react by gravitating to peer groups dominated by rejected or rebellious children, since they view themselves as not deserving to be in the mainstream.
Difficulty controlling emotions: Increased irritability or difficulty calming down after becoming upset is frequently seen in these children. Younger children may manifest regressed behaviors such as an increase in whining, tantrums or bed-wetting. Older children may become less compliant or more withdrawn. Feelings of sadness, emptiness and hopelessness may be accompanied by physical complaints such as frequent headaches or stomach aches.
Academic difficulties: A number of studies have documented higher rates of academic difficulties in abused children. Impaired concentration and motivation are among the contributors to school difficulties.
Religious crisis: We have found that some children may experience a crisis in emunah after their victimization. For adolescents, in particular, it may be very difficult to reconcile religious beliefs with actions by supposedly “religious” adults who act in such a hypocritical manner.
YOU DID NOTHING WRONG
- We, your mother and father, love you.
- You did absolutely nothing wrong.
- Your body is yours, let’s discuss how to protect it in the future, no one can touch your body in any way without your permission.
- Your body is good, it’s not dirty. Someone else who is not good did something that he wasn’t supposed to.
- He was wrong for doing this.
- You were not wrong for letting him do this
- Since the majority of children are molested by people they know – relative, neighbor, coach, man in the neighborhood, Rebbe - you need to discuss trust in older people and role models. This one person did something bad. Place an emphasis on all the other people that are good, loving and kind.
- It is human nature to shy away from discussing sexual issues with our children when they’re young adults let alone when they may be ten or fifteen years old. Yet this is what we’ll need to discuss. How can we know what really happened unless we explore it in detail? There were only two people there, the molester and your child and you certainly won’t hear the details from the molester.
- Whom should you tell? Should you confide in your child’s Rebbe? We believe not at first, but you should listen very carefully to any nuance of change that the Rebbe and teacher may be describing about your child’s behavior in class.
- Don’t start to overprotect and smother your child. Don’t begin to behave in an erratic manner by not letting him or her go to friends anymore or to the store by himself. You want to teach him to regain his confidence and his ability to make good choices so don’t begin to limit his choices.
- Again, we, your mother and father, love you. You did nothing wrong. Your body is good. Someone else did something wrong.
- These are issues that you can emphasize repeatedly and over a period of time with your child if you become aware that he or she was a victim. All too often we don’t know who is a victim. So it is important to discuss with your young child the concept of his or her body and protecting it. You can use any words to describe this concept of protecting themselves when they’re playing with friends, in a school bathroom, in camp, and so on.
- Now let's go back a step. Go slow. Your child may need professional help. He or she may find it embarrassing to talk to you. He may feel dirty, that he can’t tell you how his body was violated. Even if he talks to you he will still be very embarrassed. In fact he may even feel worse about having shared this information with you. After all, children believe that parents are the oldest people in the world. Your child may open up to you in a way that you won't know how to respond. You certainly don't want to make the situation worse. You have to recognize this and respect this.