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Opinion | Silence is slime | Israel Hayom

2023-06-06T04:23:10.177Z

Highlights: A 17-year-old boy from Beit Shemesh was charged this week with sodomy and indecent acts on a two-and-a-half year-old toddler. Yitzhak Rosenblum, an ultra-Orthodox father of eight, conducted research while he was a criminology student at the Hebrew University. He found that there is a lack of knowledge in Haredi society regarding the consequences of sexual assault. Even when there is knowledge that this is a serious act, the offender is sure that it is a problem between him and God.


Even when there is knowledge that this is a serious act, the offender is sure that it is a problem between him and God. A mechanism that allows him to think he can "get along with him and ask for forgiveness."


The sex crimes affair against a two-and-a-half-year-old toddler, which shocks the country, requires immediate and practical lessons. Collective shock and anxiety are not a work plan, and only a thorough treatment at the root and an understanding of the transverse umbrella in which these acts emerged can provide protection. A 17-year-old boy from Beit Shemesh was charged this week with sodomy and indecent acts on a two-year-old toddler at a construction site in the city about a year and a half ago. According to the indictment, on two separate occasions, the girl's 16-year-old relative picked her up from the daycare center, at the defendant's request, and brought her to a friend at the construction site, where he committed the acts in front of his eyes.

Many probing questions arise when reading these horrific lines. How can a toddler be removed from an educational institution so many times without the staff reporting to the mother, how do you not notice signs on her body, behavioral signs of distress? And the biggest question of all – what weight does society, the community, the neighborhood and the city in which they grew up have? Is this incident that shook the country the only one, and how should we act now at the systemic level?

Sexual abuse occurs in every sector and in every sector. But the lack of discourse in the ultra-Orthodox establishment about sex education, protection, and an understanding of the depth of the long-term consequences of harm exacts an unbearable price. Yitzhak Rosenblum, an ultra-Orthodox father of eight, conducted research while he was a criminology student at the Hebrew University. His research found that there is a lack of knowledge in Haredi society regarding the consequences of sexual assault. The study reveals the mental and mental processes that enable perpetrators of ultra-Orthodox society to attack children. Defense mechanisms that cause them to justify their actions in their own eyes and in the eyes of society.

The study points to three salient characteristics: lack of knowledge on the part of perpetrators, victims and society regarding sex in general and sexual assault in general; the perception of sexual assault as a halachic prohibition and less as a moral prohibition; and the lack of basic knowledge about sexuality, and discourse about sex education that is almost non-existent in the ultra-Orthodox education system, which causes warning signs not to appear, and in many cases the perpetrators do not think of themselves as such. Even when there is knowledge that this is a serious act, the offender is sure that it is a problem between him and God. A mechanism that allows him to think that he can "get along with him and ask for forgiveness," and even increases the risk that the offender will be hurt again.

In recent years, there have been serious changes in Haredi society regarding the understanding of the severity of sexual abuse, and even increased awareness. In many educational places, education has become "protected", and training sessions are held for teachers in the Talmud Torah so that they will acquire knowledge in the field, know how to identify in time and treat. Just last week, the Alza Hasidic community announced a groundbreaking step: Hasidic women will participate in a professional program that will promote a "safer and safer environment" for the students, accompanied by the community's rabbis. In addition, various social organizations are working to raise awareness of the issue.

These are important steps, but not enough. A real revolution is needed in every field of protection education in the ultra-Orthodox sector, in listening to youth and children, in making sense of the information they have, in teaching parents how to identify signs of distress that can indicate harm and how to deal with it. And most importantly: to educate children on morality even on the "austere" subject, which is rarely discussed.

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Source: israelhayom

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