Monday, August 09, 2010

Sexual Predators

Psycho-therapist Donna Burstyn writes:

Sexual predators in both boarding schools and Torah environments are no longer hush-hush. Fortunately, it is spoken about because it is a very real threat, especially to the underclassmen. Often the older boys are the predators.

It has not been easy for the rabbis to speak to this. Often when they find a predatory boy who is threatening some of the freshman, the boy, instead of getting counseling for his sexual misconduct, gets sent to another yeshiva and then another one. The problem is passed on rather than dealt with.

Fortunately, some people saw that I felt very comfortable working in the community of children who had been victimized by older bocherim (yeshiva students) and rabbis and they had no one to speak with because they felt such inner blame. They felt they had caused the abuse themselves.

When an adult attacks a child in any way, it is not the child’s fault. Often these attacks can be very seductive.

We as a community need to be more open to the breeding ground for homosexuality in many of our yeshivot and seminaries. It is the ripest time for children to want to become intimate and we can no longer hide behind old school values and tell the boys to play basketball instead of exploring themselves.