Monday, July 03, 2006


One of my advocates told me that one victim described rabbinic sexual misconduct as a wrecking ball that kept crashing in and out of her life. I agree with this sentiment. I have always used my experiences with RSM to either warn other women about my abuser or to help other victim/survivors through their own cases. In sharing my story with others, as I did last week at a Tamar's Voice meeting (Tamar's Voice is for victim/survivors of clergy sexual abuse,)there are blessings that come to me and there are the memories that intrude upon my sleep in the form of nightmares. The nightmares are a drawback of speaking about my abuse but the blessings far outweigh the unpleasantness.

I met a wonderful family who are still trying to heal from clergy sexual abuse and I am very thankful that G-d led me to speak at this meeting. I felt this family and I are kindred spirits - they are just the kind of people that I am drawn to when I choose friends. They have not been able to network with other victim/survivors and I thank G-d that I may be able to be of help to them and I know that talking to them will be helpful to my family as well. My own husband and daughter have not had the opportunity to talk to other victim/survivors about what they went through as a result of my being abused. They really need to talk about it, putting the trauma into words is one way to heal. I am in contact with this family and we are making plans to get together to talk soon. It is an important part of healing - networking with other victim/survivors. Victim/survivors who are silenced by their abusers or religious institutions are re-victimized and further injured by the very act of being hushed up and gagged.

I had the opportunity to hear Katherine Flinn speak at the meeting of Tamar's Voice. She is the author of "Clergy Sexual Abuse of Women" and has such a vast knowledge of the trauma that victim/survivors go through. It was wonderful to hear her speak and I am ordering her book - I can't wait to read it. I read Katherine Flinn's doctorial thesis on Clergy Sexual Abuse and it was tremendously helpful to me when I was in the midst of my crisis. It helped me to understand all the damage I sustained as the result of being abused. I feel that I need to read her book as I am still in the process of healing myself. I think that this is an ongoing process that takes a long, long time. I wonder if I will ever be able to honestly say: "I'm healed"?

I spoke to friends of mine, a married couple who are affiliated with the shul where I was abused. The wife told me that my abuser was recently invited back to the shul to give a lecture. This chilled my blood and made me angry, both at the same time. Why is it that the rabbi who has sexually abused several women is invited back to that shul but his victims are not welcome there? I have been thinking of going back to that shul as my abuser is no longer on the Bimah. Now I wonder if it is wise to go back. I don't know what I would do if I were to come face to face with my abuser again. Would I faint and wake up with his hands around my neck, strangling me or would I remain calm, give him a scathing look and just walk away? I don't know how I would react. I hope I never am forced to find out but since the Jewish community is a very small place, I have no doubt that some day I will have to face him. I just hope I am ready when this happens.


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