Thursday, May 10, 2007

Advocating For Survivors of Sex Crimes Vs. Advocating For the Vaad

There always seem to be a battle going on between those who are really advocating for survivors of sexual violence vs. those advocating for the rights of rabbis. I don't completely understand why this happens, but it does.

Our rabbis are mostly ill prepared to be addressing sexual violence in Jewish communities. I'm glad they are seeking help from mental health professionals on the topic, yet they should be seeking help from those who have a proven track record of working the legal system. Our rabbis should also be seeking help from law enforcement officials to help them understand the laws.

The problem is that the rabbis of Baltimore (and also of other communities) keep asking for help from those who are already a part of the broken systems. They are refusing to seek help from those who really have the experience and knowledge of how things work.

I don't mean to attack orthodox mental health professionals, yet the majority of them are truly behind the times.

It appears that the mental health professionals orthodox rabbis go to are those who come from "rabbinic families". This is common practice in the Baltimore community. It happened with the case of rabbi Eliezer Eisgrau, Shmuel Juravel and also rabbi Moshe Eisemann.

The therapists in these cases came from families in which there have been generations of ties between the Rabbinic Council of America (RCA), Orthodox Union (OU) and Agudath Israel of America. I personally see this as being problematic. If you have strong ties to an organization, it makes it difficult to truly advocate for those who have been victimized.

I am calling for all orthodox organizations to step outside the box and go to those who know how to work the systems appropriately.

If the Vaad of Baltimore or anywhere really wanted to learn about sexual abuse/assault below is a list of individuals who are qualified. What is needed is a multi-disciplined approach. The individuals below represent rabbinic, medical and mental health professionals, law enforcement and legal professionals. They have no ties to rabbinic families and I'm pretty sure the issue of nepotism is non-existent:

  1. Joanne Archambault, Sergeant (Ret.) - Addy, WA
  2. Rabbi Yosef Blau - New York, NY
  3. Christine A. Courtois, Phd - Washington DC
  4. Mesa Leventhal Baker, MD - Baltimore, MD
  5. Mary Jo Barrett, MSW - Skokie, IL
  6. Laura Davis
  7. Lisae Jordan, JD - Arnold, MD
  8. Marci Hamilton, JD - New York, NY
  9. Robin Mc Ginnis, MSW - Mundelein, IL
  10. Jeannie Meese - Columbia, MD
  11. Wendy Murphy, JD - Boston, MA
  12. Vicki Polin, MA, ATR-BC, LCPC - Baltimore, MD
  13. Polly Poskin, JD - Springfield, IL
  14. Michael J. Salamon, PhD - Hewlett, NY
  15. Joyanna L. Silberg, Phd - Baltimore MD
  16. Bessel A. Van Der Kolk, MD - Boston, MA
  17. Fran S. Waters, LMSW, DCSW, LMFT - Marquette, WI
  18. Charles L. Whitfield, MD - Atlanta, GA


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fourteen women, four men. Is there a bias here?

May 11, 2007 9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

guess it's a women's field?

May 11, 2007 11:18 AM  

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