Thursday, December 14, 2006

Message From Vicki Polin - The Awareness Center, Inc.

Questions To Ask Yourself Regarding The Problems Faced By Jewish Communities
By Vicki Polin

Last week I sent out a message titled "Regarding The problems Faced by Jewish Communities." In it I mentioned: "Dealing with sex crimes in any community has to be seen as a crisis, an emergency situation." I received a few e-mail's and phone calls regarding this statement. The various individuals were concerned that I was exaggerating the problem of sexual violence in our communities. For that reason I thought that it might be wise to rephrase the point I was trying to get across.

Unfortunately, many individuals in our society are in denial about the statistics of cases of childhood sexual abuse. Until there is scientific research done proving that the number of cases in Jewish communities is any different then in the rest of the world, I will go by the statistics that one out of ever four women and one out of every five men have been sexually abused by the time they turn eighteen.

Basically this means every time a man attends a minyan, statistically if there are ten men present, two of men are survivors of childhood sexual abuse. When twelve women attend a shir (class) -- at least three of them are also survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Usually, no one knows about their dark secret they are often afraid to talk about. You would be amazed at who the survivors are. They could be your rabbi, your doctor, your teacher, or even a close friend. Survivors of any sex crime is never at fault for what has happened to them, and should never be shamed or blamed. If a survivor trusts you enough to share, they should be met with respect, excepted for who they are, and honored for taking the risk of sharing something that they most likely have kept hidden. Survivors need to find safe people to talk to.

One of the worst battles an organization like The Awareness Center faces is the defense mechanisms many people tend to use when they are in denial. To keep our children safe it is imperative we break though that denial and start to face the facts. For that reason I am going to ask each of you to read the following questions, which you may find disturbing. Please take your time and thing about them. If you have questions please feel free to forward them to me.
  1. In a home where incest occurs, how many siblings end up getting abused? Just one? two? all?
  2. How times in a week do you think each child in an incestuous family is manipulated into having sexual contact with the offending relative?
  3. How many times in a month do you think that a child being sexually manipulated by an adult outside the home ends up having sexual contact with the alleged offender?
  4. How many children in a week do you think an a child molester molests ?
  5. How many years can go by before a child tells someone they are or have been sexually abused?
  6. How many years can alleged sex offender molest before anyone takes allegations seriously?
  7. What long term ramifications does child molestation have on the survivor through out their lives?
I could go on and on with my questions.

There answers to the questions can be horrifying. If these questions does not open eyes to why I say we have a crisis on our hands, please contact me directly. I'll do my best to explain.


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