Thursday, July 13, 2006

Soul Searching: Sexual Abuse, Cults, and Missionaries

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I found the following comment on the Canonist blog - Jews for Jesus: Why Care?

One thing we all tend to forget is that when someone is in a crisis situation in their life they become vulneralbe to cults and missionaries.

Unfortunately, in the past many Jewish survivors of sexual violence have been met with denial, rationalizations, and blame from various “trusted officials” in the Jewish community when they’d reached out for help. It’s still not uncommon for a survivor to go to various rabbinical authorities with their questions; and end up feeling rejected when they disclosed their abuse histories. Time after time adults who, as children, were subjected to sexual criminal activities, were told that the mere fact that they were disclosing their victimization was considered lashon hara. Basically meaning the fact that they were speaking out, was wrong.

Did you ever stop and wonder “What happens to an individual who feels betrayed by their own community?” Some survivors may try to find another rabbi to talk to, but all too often doing so, seems like a futile task. After all, how many times does a person have to feel rejected? It is important to remember that survivors are not unlike ourselves–they are searching for answers. Jewish survivors of childhood abuse need to hear loud and clear that they were NOT and are NOT to blame; that God did not cause the abuse as some form of punishment. Survivors need to know that they are NOT innately “bad.” However, when an individual is told that their disclosure in of itself is considered ” lashon hara”. . . what they hear is: “God hates me”, “I must be the one who’s bad.” Keeping this in mind, where can a survivor of childhood sexual abuse go to for spiritual guidance? Especially when they already feel that they have been rejected by our rabbis and possibly the rest of our community. Many will continue on, searching for a spiritual identity. Sadly, all too often they fall prey to missionaries and cult leaders, or just drift into some form of eclectic spirituality.

You can read more about this here:
Soul Searching: Sexual Abuse, Cults, and Missionaries


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