Monday, March 24, 2008

Case of Malka Leifer - Is Zipporah Oliver Helping To Cover Up A Sex Crime?

I was just reading The Awareness Center's web page and found the following and one has to wonder if we need to be concerned with "cultural issues" in the charedi world, when the "cultural issues" result in shaming and blaming survivors of sex crimes in to silence?

It appears that ex-school principal, Malka Leifer is hiding out in Bnai Brak, Israel. I was also informed she grew up on Tel Aviv.

From The Awareness Center's site on Malka Leifer
If anyone has a photograph of Malka Leifer, please forward it to The Awareness Center. The goal of this web page is to help protect innocent children from becoming the next victim of a sex crime.

In 2000, Malka Leifer was hired by Adass Israel Girls School. In 2003 she was promoted and made principal. Her employment terminated and left Melbourne within 24 hours of being investigated by the school board. There were allegations made that Adass Israel school purchased the ticket for Leifer to return to Israel. Norman Rosenbaum, the schools spokesperson, the rumors are not true.

Zipporah Oliver, a prominent Orthodox psychologist, was quoted in saying that she has encouraged anybody who feels traumatized by the events to seek help in a culturally appropriate way.

Over the last seven years The Awareness Center has seen "the culturally appropriate way" in many orthodox communities is to let the rabbis "handle" these sorts situations, by either doing nothing or protecting the alleged sexual predator not to embarrass his or her family, at the expense of those who have been criminally violated.

It's not very often we will see rabbonim encouraging survivors of sex crimes to work with law enforcement, instead they encourage survivors to have their cases heard in a Jewish religious court. According to Jewish law there needs to be two `kosher' witnesses to a crime. It's important to note that women do not count as kosher witnesses. When you are dealing with sex crimes, there is hardly ever one witness, let alone two.

We all must be aware that our rabbis are not trained to conduct victim sensitive interviews nor have knowledge in how to collect forensic evidence. The "cultural norm" in more insulated communities is to scare those who have been victimized into silence by warning them they will not find good marriage partner or be allowed in good yeshivas (schools) if it was known they or a family member were a victim of a sex crime.

Instead of instilling fear, our rabbis should be encouraging survivors to work with law enforcement, to insure no more innocent children, adolescents or adults are harmed by alleged sexual predators. Instead of promoting fear, our rabbonim have a responsibility to be educating our communities that all survivor of sex crimes should be honored and respected.

The Awareness Center wants to encourage all survivors of sex crimes to contact their local rape crisis center and to work with law enforcement. It is the only way to insure that there is hope in stopping a sexual predator from creating more victims.


Post a Comment

<< Home