Asher Lipner writes:
An anonymous advocate sent me this email with attachment.Once again, Ohel is having an event to teach parents how to keep their children safe. This is the first ever such event in the Five Towns, a more modern progressive frum community than some others. So far, Ohel has had this event in Brooklyn (in Yeshiva Torah Tmima), Baltimore, Passaic and Lakewood. At each event, they do not make mention of any law enforcement, crime prevention professionals such as child protective services or the police. This is itself criminal.
They have also given parents advice such as the following: "Don't look into shadows and be too over vigilant". "Go to rabbanim if you susupect abuse." and "the vast majority of children who are molested are not effected very much."
Although usually, Ohel events are very choreographed and questions and comments from the audience must be written down and "chosen" by the speaker, it would still be great if many of us would show up and try to get our message out there. We can hand out fliers with the information of what parents REALLY need to do.
And we can write or stand up and ask as many of the following questions as possible. I would suggest standing up and introducing yourself as a survivor of abuse, a relative or friend of a survivor of abuse, or a concerned parent. Then pick from one of the following questions (you can print them out). I have tried to ask probing but not attacking questions. If you feel there is a more diplomatic way of bringing up these points, feel free obviously to use your own language:
1. If I suspect someone in my neighborhood is molesting children and I want to protect my children, is there somebody I should call to stop him? And this question should go to Rabbi Weinberger: Do I need to ask a rabbi before calling the police?
2. Is there anyway I can be sure that my child's camp and school is a safe place? Are there any policies I should look for?
3. What about a camp or school that doesn't do fingerprinting or background checks on its employees?
4. What about those Yeshivas that knowingly cover up for molesters such as Torah Tmima, Satmar and Ner Yisroel. Is it safe to send my son there as long as I follow your advice on teaching my son to watch out?
5. If my child is molested, is it better to take him or her for therapy to a frum agency like Ohel that won't report the abuse, or to a non frum agency that will?
6. Rabbi Weinberger: Are there any policies in your shul that prevent molesters that daven here from coming into contact with children? Do you warn parents who the molesters are? Do you quietly ask them to leave and daven elsewhere, or do you let the whole community know who the molester is?
7. Can we have an event like the one in Passaic in which the community heard from real live survivors of abuse in addition to professionas experts? Is there something about what they have to say that would be harmful to the conversation?
8, Since this event is being sponsored by the Office of Juvenille Justice and Delinquency Prevention, is there anything else that one of THEIR experts might tell us about prevention, such as how to report, to whom to report and when to report suspected crimes?
9. Ohel has a program to treat molesters. Does this mean that molesters can be cured? Is it safe to the community to treat molesters without reporting them to the police?
10. If I tell my children to come and tell me if they get abused, what good is that if I can't do anything because nobody in our community will back us up? The community will always take the side of the molester? Are there any frum rabbis or agencies that advocate for victims and not molesters?