Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Finding Safe Journalists To Share Your Story

The following comments were made on one of the postings. I thought it was important for us to discuss.

When talking to a journalist it's vitally important for the individual to be able to understand my right to privacy. It's great that the individual everyone seems to keep bringing up, understands confidentiality.

Yet, there's something else to look at. I've looked at his blog, his web page, and the posting to his old blog (Protocols). I personally don't feel comfortable sharing the intimate details of my abuse with a man who writes about his sexual fantasies publicly. I don't know if this makes any sense to anyone else, but I wonder if I told him about my violation if it will turn him on? My fear is it will.

Anonymous said...

That's a legitimate concern, and I hope he reads that and addresses it here.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

That is Luke: take him or leave him. It's a package deal. He is a journalist who will keep your confidentiality. He respects it when you tell him, "don't make this public." Most journalists don't have the balls to do what he does. The reason he does have the balls is because Luke is a very unique individual. He has no qualms: both about publicizing stories that no one else will touch and publicly writing things about himself that others would not disclose. All guys have s*xual fantasies. How do you know that other journalists don't get "turned on" by survivor stories? Different people naturally find different things turn-ons. As a survivor myself, I would venture to say (having read this in several reputable sources) that even some SURVIVORS find other survivor stories turn-ons. (See "The Courage to Heal", it talks about this.)

This is Luke. Take him or leave him. It's a package deal.

I wish this blog wouldn't keep harping on him. We discussed him. The thread was taken down. Another thread went up. He responded to it. It was taken down. Another post went up. It was taken down, ammended and reposted. If anyone is wondering whether to talk to Luke, why don't they speak to someone from the Awareness Center directly, or speak directly to another survivor. Or ask Rabbi Blau. It doesn't seem like this public discussion of him is going anywhere.

This is just my opinion. I may be right or I may be wrong.

February 16, 2005 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Luke is an exhibitionist and self exploitative. I don't trust his motivations. I have never heard him say that he cares about survivors. People working with trauma survivors should care about them, in my opinion.

February 16, 2005 12:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure I understand the point of talking to a journalist in the first place. Is that something that will promote healing?
And if one did, wouldn't it be better to talk to someone who has a reputation for integrity?
I don't think it's even fair to call Luke a journalist; he's not connected to any reputable paper or anything like that. Also, I've read several of his "profiles" in which I knew the people and situations involved, and each one was full of many MANY misquotes and errors, ones that would have been easily corrected by a journalist who checks their facts.
I've also talked to many people who automatically dismiss anything that comes from him not only because of his sleazy reputation, but because so much he's written is known to be simply not true. So I think ultimately it could be more damaging than helpful to share any stories with him.
Just my two cents.

February 16, 2005 1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will try to repeat the comments I made in the earlier post about Luke.

During my first phone conversation with Luke, he made it clear (and later wrote these things in his blog), that he is not a social worker, advocate, or therapist; (although I disagree with the advocacy part, the very nature of what he's doing is a form of advocacy)--he's a writer, who has recognized that "these are stories screaming to be told", which everyone else has been ignoring. I appreciated the honesty and directness. Luke is not the person I went to for support with the most intimate details about my abuse---he is the format in which a major predator has been exposed. He's taken the brunt, along with Vicki Polin, of some fairly vicious attacks. If what he has done has helped prevent even ONE MORE woman from getting damaged by that *bleep*, then he deserves a medal.

For the record, he's never been anything other than a gentleman on the phone, to me. I didn't seek him out, he sort of fell into my lap, so to speak. Regarding anything he writes about sex or sexuality, perhaps that hasn't phased me because what he's written seems so tame in comparison to what I went through.

He may not be the person everyone chooses to disclose their stories to, which is fine, but that doesn't mean he won't be right for others and should be knocked down. Yes, I have found him baffling and perplexing at times, but at least he's written about his own flaws in an honest way---not in a way as to manipulate compassion out of women.

"Luke is an exhibitionist and self exploitative. I don't trust his motivations. I have never heard him say that he cares about survivors. People working with trauma survivors should care about them, in my opinion."

I trust his motivations because they're honest and direct: he's a writer and wants to make money off his writing. I prefer the bluntness of that over some smarmy fake 'caring' attitude. Frankly, I don't care whether Luke *cares* about me or not--I feel that he respects me, and that's enough. I'd advise caution for trauma survivors to put themselves in a position of wanting to be 'cared about' by someone they don't know, anyway. That's what my friends and therapist are for. I do think, however, that in continuing to write about these issues, he'd do well with some further reading/research if he hasn't already, especially the "Trauma and Recovery" book.

Because of Luke's willingness to do what he does, a number of synagogues in various places have been saved from hiring a particularly heinous man. I don't know if they're thankful, but I'm thankful. I don't want one more woman to go through what myself and a bunch of other women have gone through.

So if you want respect, honesty, directness, and confidentiality---you can go to Luke. But don't do either of these things: put him on a pedestal or knock him down. He's just a guy, interested in writing on *these topics* which no one else wants to touch. Keep the perspective on this, and you can be comfortable talking with him.

February 16, 2005 1:35 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

I'm not sure why this blog is focusing on Luke.

This is the simple situation.

1) Very few reporters are willing to do stories about abuse in the Jewish community.

2) Those who have, often prefer not to do more stories in this area.

3) Currently, there is no reporter in the Jewish community actively interested in writing these stories.

4) Reporters like Gary Rosenblatt have arbitrary standards that they apply to such stories. If such arbitrary standards were applied in the general media there would be no catholic church scandal.

5) That leaves victims with few places to go to tell their stories.

February 16, 2005 3:04 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

So basically victims are left with the following:

1) Contact the Awareness Center which is overwhelmed by cases and has limited resources.
2) Contact a professional body which the abuser is part of and file a complaint (often no such body exists and even if they do the abuser can simply walk away from that body).
3) File a civil suit which many victims (particularly in the Orthodox community) are unwilling to do or discouraged from doing.
4) Contact Luke who is willing to do such stories.
5) Try publicizing your case on your own.

I would note:
A. No one has to tell their stories to Luke. If you're not comfortable with him don't tell him your story.
B. Of the stories Luke has written in this area, I'm satisfied he dealt with victims professionally and that the stories are accurate.

February 16, 2005 3:13 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

A. When talking to a reporter you need to be immediately clear as to the use of your name:
1) On-the-record - they can use your name
2) Unattributed - they can use your information but not identify you
3) Off-the-record - cannot use your name or the information you provide. They need a seperate source to refer to information you've given them.

B. Be clear as to the use of names of others you give and any information that you don't want used as it may identify you.

C. If you're not comfortable with the reporter go elsewhere.

D. You may want to put your documentation and material together in an organized way BEFORE talking to a reporter. A timeline, summary of your information or a table of contents can all expedite the process and save you and the reporter a great deal of time.

February 16, 2005 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There was a reporter who was posting the most vile personal attacks against survivors of abuse in the comments of Protocols.

So you really never know who you are dealing with and should always excercise caution. This is true with anyone a survivor deals with. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for survivors to be victimized by those they turn to for help. It is not uncommon for survivors in the aftermath of the abuse to discover that those they thought were their friends were anything but.

February 16, 2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

Luke has his profiles about Rabbinic abuse at:

He profiles:
Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau
Rabbi Mordecai Gafni
Rabbi Steven Jacobs
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Rabbi Aron Tendler
Rabbi Mordecai Tendler
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch

All are legitimate and accurate news stories that are factually accurate.

To paraphrase my own comment on the bottom of this page:
"...why (are you all) more worried about Luke's ethics than the ethics of all those who've stood silent for decades concerning Gafni/Winiarz and his ilk and those who still enable Gafni and his ilk."

February 16, 2005 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Perhaps we need a definition of what you mean by a "safe" journalist?

Simply put, I trust Luke. He's put his neck out there to keep these profiles up--and I haven't thanked him enough.

Keep up the good work, Luke.

February 16, 2005 4:38 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

I would note that if I started to expose all the "respectable" baalai batim in Orthodox institutions that have direct financial ties to the pornography industry, that would likely be all I did full-time and it would take all my resources plus some to do so. Frankly, it's just not an area I want to start investigating in detail(but I do have good sources that have already provided me information in this area).

Many of you would be shocked by the number of strip-clubs that once you trace the registrations, lead to kiddush club and Bais Yaakov tuition cheqes. Years ago, even I was shocked.

To those who will immediately attack my assertions as "Orthodox bashing", I would note: other denominations and religious groups have the same nonsense as well.

February 16, 2005 4:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, when is the Awareness Center going to put forth the page on that Chicago rabbi? How many more complaints do they need to come in? Wasn't that letter of complaint from the Melbourne Australia synagogue helpful?

I want to see all these councils and agencies and writers and survivors working together---there is strength in that. This isn't doing any good to be devisive.

February 16, 2005 5:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

>All are legitimate and accurate news stories that are factually accurate.

What a ridiculous statement. These are not legitimate, not accurate, and not news stories by any normal journalistic standards (which is why no newspaper would ever print them). They are simply Luke's transcripts of people's biased accounts, often embellished and distorted out of desire for revenge or whatever, and then put out there without any fact-checking whatsoever. There are numerous inaccuracies that I'm aware of in several of these stories, and I'm sure many more that I'm not.

That is what is dangerous about Luke and the Internet; there are no controls (as there are in traditional reporting), so anyone can say anything about anyone else with no way to be sure what is true.

February 16, 2005 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That is what is dangerous about Luke and the Internet; there are no controls (as there are in traditional reporting), so anyone can say anything about anyone else with no way to be sure what is true."

When numerous variations of the same story are brought forward by many women, from all over, none of whom know each other---it can hardly be considered suspicious. Luke checks for the validity of those who come forward to complain with the various agencies.

What is dangerous about the internet is that it is a virtual banquet for predators, and someone has come close to making a living off of this.

What Luke does isn't the threat.

February 16, 2005 5:28 PM  
Blogger jewishwhistleblower said...

>These are not legitimate,

Wrong. Legitimate, compelling and important topic.

>not accurate,

Wrong, and as usual you can't point to any material inaccuracy.

>and not news stories by any
>normal journalistic standards
>(which is why no newspaper would
>ever print them).

See above list of profiles:

1) The following were in the newspapers:
Rabbi Mordecai Gafni
Rabbi Steven Jacobs
Rabbi Mordecai Tendler

2) Likely to be in the newspapers shortly when RCA/RCC investigation is complete:
Rabbi Aron Tendler

3) If they were catholic priests it would already be in the newspapers:
Rabbi J. Hershy Worch
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau

February 16, 2005 6:33 PM  
Anonymous Vicki Polin said...

As we all know, Luke Ford is an extremely controversial individual. There are things I wish we could change about him, but we can't.

I know I'm going to take a lot of heat for saying what I'm about to say, but the truth is that if it wasn't for Luke, no one would have known about the allegations made against Rabbi Hershey Worch. Luke also allowed three of the Gafni survivors an opportunity to tell their stories using their own words. This was something that no one else was willing to do.

I am also aware of many other cases he has written about, that no one else appears interested in publishing. Again, Luke has taken a great risk to warn our communities of the potential dangers. He's listen to the stories told to him by individuals who have been allegedly victimized, and writes about them.

Luke Ford doesn't cave into the political pressures that so many of us deal with on a daily basis.

I do hear the concerns voiced in this blog by several individuals. Just like when you are looking to find a therapist, a rabbi, a friend, a doctor, or anyone else. Each person has individual wants and needs. Each individual needs to be an educated consumer and decide for themselves if what Luke has to offer is the right thing for you.

February 16, 2005 10:42 PM  

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