Saturday, October 12, 2013


I sent each one of my eleven siblings a copy of the talk that I gave at my Seudat Hoda'ah. (contact me if you would like a copy:
 It was met with deafening silence.
 I have been cut off.
 I remember being sexually abused by my father and grandfather and I am still dealing with the consequences.

Excommunication is one of the consequences.

I miss the good memories of Sukkos with my family. The excitement of building the sukkah, the togetherness and family time.

 Any abuse survivor who is honest, will admit that there were also good times.

 The good memories I have of my family will always be there, and always be mine.  Unfortunately, the bad memories will always be there too; memories of ongoing sexual abuse that I and my family desperately wish I didn't have.

I can never go back and reclaim the lost years with my family.  I lost so much. It's hard to imagine the tears will ever end.  I missed watching my younger brothers and sisters grow up. I missed going to family celebrations.  I missed spending time with them on holidays.  I missed knowing about, and celebrating, the births of my many nieces and nephews, etc.

  I found out recently that my youngest brother, Meir, is engaged.  Maybe he's already married.  I am not privy to this kind of information in my family.
  I struggle to picture Meir as an adult.  When I saw him last, fifteen years ago,  he was eight years old. 
I will not be invited to his wedding.
I am not invited to family simchas.

Yom Tov brings back the reality of how alone I am.

My good friend Hadas suggested that I write a letter to myself from my siblings.  A fantasy letter, if you will.  Hadas suggested imagining someone in my family communicating with me from a place that is real, healthy, and honest.  Imagine someone in my family asking themselves honestly, "What does Hashem (God) want from me in this situation?" Hashem is the spirit of life and unending love and intelligence in the world.  Hashem kel rachum v'chanun.  Hashem is a God of mercy.  Hashem/God cares first and foremost, how we treat each other.  How might my family respond to me, and communicate with me if they believed this?

Perhaps something like this:  (assuming that they honestly don't have knowledge of the abuse I suffered, which to me is doubtful.)

 Dear Genendy,

I don't know you very well, nor do you know me very well, as we haven't spoken in many years.  I wish you wouldn't talk about your memories so publicly.  It causes all of us a lot of pain and embarrassment.  I can not begin to imagine where you are coming from.  I don't remember anything like what you say you remember from our childhood.  My memories and experiences don't match yours at all. Our other brothers and sisters say that they can not relate to your experience either.  Your story seems to have changed, and to keep changing over the years.  I have a lot of questions about things you say, and have said, that seem inconsistent.   I am very angry and hurt by your behavior.  You are my sister, though, and I love you and care about you and would like to try to find a way to work through this with you. 
Your Phantom Sibling,
No one


  1. The more you write, the more it seems that your family is a normal group of people and you have issues. While I don't know you and don't know your family, you may want to speak to your therapist about the concept of false memories. You seem to be very unsure of your self and almost incapable of moving on. Most victims that have fulfilling lives would never blog like this. You seem to have a fulfilling life so there has to be an underling reason why you would behave in this way. I wonder if you are being pained by false memories and suffering from the wrong approach to healing. I pray that God send you the methods to heal.

    1. From where I sit, ALL normal people have issues. The difference is in how we deal with them. I believe that both my family and I are doing the best we can with the tools we have right now, in dealing with our issues.
      This blog is a healing tool that Hashem has sent me. It provides me with a voice where my family has denied me one.

      Your assessments of me, and my family, are interesting, and in my opinion, communicate a lack of understanding of the issues involved. You refer to me as a "victim."
      I don't see myself as a victim.
      I don't know any victims who live fulfilling lives.
      I am a SURVIVOR and I have been blessed with a fulfilling life in spite of my issues, which I attempt to deal with as openly and honestly as possible.
      I have tried for years to convince myself, and my therapist, that I have "false memories." I wish I did. It would be a wonderful and relatively easy way out.
      I suggest you read R' Eidenson's book: Child and Domestic Abuse: A Halachic, Legal, and Psychological Perspective, for a greater understanding of the complexity of the problem.

  2. Sadly, people just don't have a clue/understand the isolation and therefore the effects of family abuse on a victim. When a stranger abuses, then a victim (theoretically at least, although not in all cases) can fall back to family to receive support and help. However, when the perpetrator is a family member, and a leader in the family, and provided a leadership position in the community then the victim really has no where to turn(not family, not community leaders no where). And when a person has no where to turn and no where to find answers then they begin to doubt themselves. You really don't have to be a big psychologist to figure this out. That is a great book.

    1. I suspect that the above comment about my family being a normal group of people was written by someone who didn't read the post carefully and assumes that my family actually wrote my fantasy letter. Otherwise the comment doesn't make much sense to me.

    2. And I suspect that the above comment about your family being a normal group of people ...... was written by someone in your family, who is trying to discredit you and your memories.

      Please don't take that comment seriously.

  3. I hope and pray that you have the strength to go on, and that this blogging really is helping you. If you were sexually abused by your father, and you are no longer at home but many siblings remained behind, chances are your father chose another kid to "love". Your siblings are probably all too scared to say or do anything which will anger daddy, including writing or contacting you in any way.
    You can't help them. You can't even contact them! But they may not be as cruel as it feels to you... only helpless.
    May HaShem help you form other, healthy relationships, to break the cycle of abuse and have a full life!