“The Child-Rape Assembly Line”

Originally posted on November 14, 2013

Christopher Ketcham wrote an article for VICE about sexual abuse in the Orthodox Jewish community. The article sheds light on a problem that, much like the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse problems, has remained hidden as a result of protecting the offenders and punishing the victims:

In New York, and in the prominent Orthodox communities of Israel and London, allegations of child molestation and rape have been rampant. The alleged abusers are schoolteachers, rabbis, fathers, uncles—figures of male authority. The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys. Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community—the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world—have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders. Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. “From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.”

People who complain about the abuse are kicked out of the community. For example, Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg began blogging about the abuse in the community. He also set up a hotline for people to call. He made media tours and publicly denounced the abuse. The result: he is excluded from all activities in his community and receives death threats. Continue reading