"In 2001 I attended the home of Mrs New for a Sabbath lunch where I was seated opposite Velvel (Zev) Serebryanski who had repeatedly sexually abused me as a child. Later that afternoon I disclosed my abuse to Mr and Mrs New. I did so because Mrs New was a friend and a representative of the Jewish Taskforce who I believed would support me. I regret that subsequent to that disclosure, Mrs New never contacted me to offer support, advice or assistance.…"
Anti-child-sex-abuse advocate Manny Waks writes on Facebook:
APOLOGY TO SHEINY NEW
I wish to apologise to Mrs Sheiny New for the hurt and upset that I caused her by posting a comment on my Facebook page on November 26, 2014 that have false and untrue imputations.
In that comment I questioned whether Mrs New had done anything regarding my disclosure to her of my sexual abuse at Yeshivah Centre because of family connections within the Yeshivah Centre.
I accept that Mrs New contacted the police regarding my disclosure to her of my sexual abuse at Yeshivah centre.
But that isn't all Waks wrote. Commenting on his own apology to New in the comments to that Facebook post, Waks added context – context that, if accurate, shows the Chabad-dominated Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence did very little to protect victims of child sex abuse and acted in a way that facilitated Chabad's ongoing coverups:
Along with my above apology to Mrs Sheiny New, a former representative of the Jewish Taskforce Against Family Violence, I would like to make the following known:
In 2001 I attended the home of Mrs New for a Sabbath lunch where I was seated opposite Velvel (Zev) Serebryanski who had repeatedly sexually abused me as a child. Later that afternoon I disclosed my abuse to Mr and Mrs New. I did so because Mrs New was a friend and a representative of the Jewish Taskforce who I believed would support me.
I regret that subsequent to that disclosure, Mrs New never contacted me to offer support, advice or assistance.
In February 2012, many months after I had made my abuse public, I emailed Mrs New to express my disappointment that she had failed to contact me to offer support. I also expressed my disappointment at the failure of the Taskforce to speak out against the mishandling of abuse at Yeshivah. I asked Mrs New for her support and that of the Taskforce for myself and the many other victims.
I was disappointed to receive a response highlighting the Taskforce’s work in ensuring child sexual abuse did not happen again, instead of the support for which I had asked.
I wrote again and expressed my further disappointment that Mrs New and the Taskforce did not appear to appreciate the importance of justice as part of the healing process for victims. While it was all well and good to aim to prevent sexual abuse from happening again, it was difficult to see how this goal could be achieved without first holding to account the individuals and institutions who had allowed it to happen in the first place. I also invited Mrs New to share with the police all information which she had to do with sexual abuse at Yeshivah but I did not even receive the courtesy of a response.
Some twelve months later (January 2013), after I named Mrs New in a submission to the Victorian Government Inquiry (September 2012), the police confirmed that they had spoken to Mrs New in November 2012 and that she had indicated that she would provide a statement if the matter proceeded. I was again disappointed to discover it had taken so long for Mrs New to communicate with the police and felt that someone in her position ought to have been far more proactive in assisting victims to achieve justice, including providing a police statement irrespective of whether the matter would proceed to court at that time.
In summary, I maintain that Mrs New’s actions have fallen well short of the support which I expected as both a victim of child sexual abuse and as a victim advocate. I feel let down and disappointed in both her and the Taskforce. In my view, she and the Taskforce could and should have done more to assist victims.
As always, I will continue my work in the knowledge that I am meaningfully contributing to making our community a safer place for children. Of course, I understand the responsibility that this entails and need to choose each and every word carefully. Occasionally I make a mistake and need to rectify the situation by apologising and clarifying. This is an inevitable part of the process of holding to account those who have let us down. And I have no intention of changing my approach.