To Whom it May Concern,
I was saddened to read the letter that was sent to the community regarding the accusations against various individuals.
While the writer of this letter may say that the allegations are false, he has no way of being certain that this is so. It is very common for community members to not want to believe that a well know and trusted member, or leader of a community has broken the law and has deeply harmed others. Furthermore, it is not unusual for family members to take the side of the abuser against the victim, especially when the abuser is well known and respected community leader. The reasons for this are that the family fears being shamed, and they fear the effect this will have on their own families in the community. Many family members choose to stay silent and many take precautions to protect their own children.
As a therapist who has been working in the field of childhood sexual abuse for the last 25 years, I have come across many families like the one you are referring to in your letter. It is a rare thing for someone to stand up and make these accusations without there having been a basis, especially when the personal price is so high.
I am also an acquaintance of the woman that you claim is telling lies. However, my impression of her differs greatly from that of the writer of the letter. This person has rebuilt her life. She has built a wonderful family, and a successful career and she is an active and respected member of her community. She has shown great courage, risking her own privacy and reputation to do what she feels is right in order to protect others, like she herself was not protected. .
The bottom line is that one has no way of knowing what really happened. However by taking a stand against a complainant, you are doing a most harmful thing. This woman has learned to accept the lack of support from the community, though I would imagine that it doesn’t stop hurting. However, a message is being sent to the many others who have been abused, and who after seeing letters like this one, will not want to step forward for fear of being treated in the same way.
No matter what your opinion is, I would advise all community members to think for themselves and to be careful about making public statements about issues where they cannot possibly have all of the facts.
I pray that as individuals in your community, you will have the courage to form your own opinions, and I urge you to be careful about making public statements regarding issues that you cannot possibly have all of the facts that would allow for you to be fair judges. I do believe that at this time, whether you believe that the accused is guilty or innocent, all members of this family could use the community's support in getting through such a difficult time.
Helise Pollack, MSW (Masters of Social Work (clinical)).
I have also been a Pkidat Saad Lechok Hanoar, which is a child welfare officer.
I have graduated a course in which I was trained to treat children who sexually abuse, and I have 25 years experience working in the field of childhood sexual abuse.