Monday, March 10, 2014

A Historic Event

Last week I attended the first Jewish International Conference on Children's Safety in Jerusalem.  The conference was the brainchild of founder and CEO of Magen Bet Shemesh, David Morris, and was sponsored by the Haruv institute.

  Jewish professionals and activists from Argentina, Australia, Switzerland, South Africa, the United States, England, Israel, and France attended the conference.

  Attendees shared resources and ideas on prevention, awareness, and what to do about the problem of perpetrators walking free in our communities.

 As an incest survivor, it was tremendously healing to meet an international group of Jews as dedicated as I am to stamping out child sexual abuse from our communities.  I was proud and grateful to attend this event.


  1. I have a question for you. As a fellow survivor. Did you always remember what happened to you or did it come back to you when you were older?

    1. I am posting part of my talk from my Seudat Hoda'ah in answer to your question:

      My sense of self could not develop normally in an environment that was so contradictory. I believed, just as my family still does, that what was happening to me when I was being sexually abused absolutely could not be real. I survived the repeated attacks on my body and soul by dissociating. I believed in a just Hashem and I believed that He was allowing me to be hurt because I deserved it. I knew, as all young children must know and believe, that my father was good, that my grandfather was good, that the Torah was good, and that Hashem was good. Therefore I was bad and I deserved to be raped at three, four, five years old.

      I was robbed of my sense of safety in my body, and in the world. My self was stolen from me. My ability to trust was stolen. My ability to trust myself, to trust others, to trust Hashem. My childhood was taken. My innocence. My ability to feel my body, to own my body. My ability to feel safe and intimate with my husband and children. And as I shared earlier I almost lost my life to suicide 18 years ago.

      Taking back what is rightfully ours is the work that survivors need to do in therapy and in therapy groups. We need to feel the pain that we try so hard to run from. Sexual abuse hurts! Running and hiding from pain causes all kinds of dysfunctions. We need to understand and identify all that was stolen, and grieve all that we lost. We need to own our pain and understand in a deep way that it's not us who caused it.

      We are just as capable of denial as our families are. The truth is far more painful than denial.

  2. Thank you for responding to me. That was very moving and touching.
    Hashem should give you continued Koach!